Having thousands of songs we love with us at all times is one of the great things about the iPhone or iPod touch. But sometimes you want some variety, want to discover something new, or don't want music at all, instead preferring news or sports. In those situations, what you need are iPhone radio apps. Here's a guide to 15 great radio apps that will keep you engaged and enjoying your listening time.
1. AOL Radio
The free AOL Radio combines features from traditional radio apps and program-your-own-station apps like Pandora. In the traditional radio category, it offers 150 live radio stations from large metropolitan areas across the country. It also includes over 350 preset mix stations, a la Pandora, that allow you to skip songs and tag favorites for later purchases.
2. ESPN Radio
Got a hankering for the latest sports news, scores, or podcasts? The Worldwide Leader has you covered with its US$2.99 ESPN Radio app. This app includes live streams of the main ESPN Radio feed as well as numerous local affiliates, episodes from 35 podcasts, and a regularly updated scores ticker. If you need your sports radio fix, it's hard to imagine a better package.
This $4.99 streaming radio app gives you access to over 50,000 radio stations anywhere you've got Internet access. Grace offers AM and FM stations, talk radio, news from NPR, the BBC, and others, and stations from multiple continents. If you've got a Sirius XM subscription, you can even use it here.
iHeartRadio gives you free acess to over 750 radio stations from across the country. With so many stations to choose from, you'll be able to find most any kinds of music or other content, from rock to Christian, from news to sports to weather. Unlike Last.fm or Pandora, you can't skip songs or get music based on your preferences.
While not technically a radio app--in that it doesn't provide an Internet-based stream of a broadcast station--Last.fm lets you program your own radio station. Begin by choosing an artist you already like and Last.fm will serve up songs by artists it thinks you'll like based on that preference. Your feedback improves future song selections.
6. NPR News
If you need the latest news, or to catch up on any number of NPR's popular shows, this free app is for you. In addition to text news stories, the NPR News app offers live streams of shows like All Things Considered and Fresh Air, previous segments from the shows, and live streams from member stations across the country.
Pandora works a lot like Last.fm: start with an artist you like and branch out into similar music from there, based on your feedback and Pandora's huge database of likes and dislikes from users like you. Again, not a broadcast radio app, but sometimes programming your own station is more fun.