Zoo Station

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For those who listen to online radio

Posted by Chance on March 18, 2009

I seem to be the only one I know who listens to radio on the internet, but in case anyone else does, I am a fan of Slacker Radio.   There are preset radio stations according to genre that are pretty decent, but you can also customize your station.  You can start with an existing station and ban artists or songs you don’t want to hear and rate certain songs as favorites.  You can also start from scratch, adding your own artists.  If you add as much as 15 you can choose to hear only those artists, or you can choose to hear a little variety beyond the artists you’ve chosen.

Another similar station is Pandora, which I have posted about earlier.  I personally like Slacker a little bit more because of its interface, and I prefer its Christian rock station, but each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Slacker has the nicer interface, an ability to fine tune more parameters, such as recent/class songs, more variety of artists, and popular vs. more obscure songs.

Pandora has the ability to listen to other people’s created stations, and the user can do a mix of multiple stations.  Also, it is superior to Slacker in terms of finding similar songs and artists.  It appears that Pandora looks more at song style, whereas Slacker seems to place the focus on artists in the same genre and year.  Where Slacker is annoying is that when I put U2 as an artists I like, it suggests a bunch of has-been bands from the 80s.

For both these stations, it is nice to save a song as favorite or ban it outright, something that has plagued the radio station for decades.  However, I find sometimes that other people, even a machine, does a better job of song selection than myself.  I like hearing the unexpected variety of an already existing station as opposed to hearing a bunch of artists I have already heard.  The bad thing about custom stations is it prevents you from hearing more new stuff; if I want to hear stuff I already like I typically listen to my iTunes library.

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