Internet radio stations can be great sources of entertainment since you can listen to them almost anywhere on numerous devices. The best stations offer a good mix of artists and songs, along with a minimum of interruptions and advertising. If you're looking for a few new stations to add to your favorites, give these a spin.
Top Country Stations
If you're into country music, you'll enjoy these Internet radio stations that serve up a steady stream of hits by great artists.
B98, Today's Best Country
Country station B98, Today's Best Country broadcasts from Kansas City. This station plays modern country, featuring artists such as Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, and The Band Perry.
B98 is free for everyone and you don't need to register in order to tune in. All you need to do is click on the play arrow either in the box on the top left side of the page, or in the middle of the station's logo in the center of the page. Since the station is free you can expect to hear advertisements after every four or five songs, though becoming a VIP member of Live365 entitles you to listen ad-free for about $6 a month. You can listen online using a computer or laptop, or download the Live365 apps to listen through iTunes or Google Play on a mobile device.
Texas Red Hot Radio
The state of Texas enjoys a rich history in country music, and it's not surprising that there are many Internet radio stations based there. One of the best is Texas Red Hot Radio, which won the 2014 Texas Regional Radio Music Award for Internet Radio Station of the Year. Broadcasting from the city of Mansfield, Texas Red Hot Radio (TRHR) plays a mix of local music, Texas country, and "red dirt" music, with a bit of Southern rock and blues thrown in for variety.
Listeners can tune in online for free by clicking on the play arrow on the right hand side of the page. You can also listen through tunein Radio, which has links to download apps for your phone or other mobile device. TRHR runs fewer ads than most free radio stations, taking commercial breaks only a couple of times an hour.
Top Pop Stations
Pop music fans are always eager to hear the latest hits from their favorite artists and discover great new talent. These radio stations offer just what you're looking for.
HitKast is the most popular station of all genres featured on the Chicago-based Internet radio service AccuRadio. On this station you'll hear today's hits from artists like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Ke$ha, and Rihanna.
AccuRadio is a very streamlined site, so listening to HitKast is simple. Just click on the HitKast image to start the player, which will pop up at the bottom of the screen, and it begins playing automatically. You can listen for free as a guest and if you choose this method you can expect to hear a short ad after every two or three songs. Alternatively, you can register for a free account and get fewer ads while you listen. Registration also allows you to "blend" in other stations from AccuRadio so you can hear a variety of songs, for a customized experience.
106.7 Lite FM
Rated as the top radio station in New York City (based on the number of listeners), 106.7 Lite FM plays a mixture of current pop alongside hits from the 80s and 90s. Their playlist features artists such as Mumford and Sons, Bruno Mars, Annie Lennox, and the Goo Goo Dolls.
You can listen to 106.7 Lite FM online through the iHeartRadio streaming service. You'll need to register for a free account to stream this station (or any others), but once you do you can save favorite stations and create your own playlists. iHeartRadio is available on numerous platforms including mobile, automotive, and gaming systems. Expect to hear a couple of ads after every four or five songs.
Top Hip Hop Stations
One of the great things about hip hop radio is that artists are fond of dropping by and jamming with other up-and-coming musicians. Catch your favorite artists on these radio stations that you can listen to online.
Another pick from New York City, Hot 97 has been referred to as an "iconic New York hip-hop station" and "the country's most revered hip-hop station." One of the regular DJs, Funkmaster Flex, has a long list of celebrity fans including Mariah Carey, Howard Stern, and Puffy Combs. Hot 97's playlist includes artists like Ne-Yo, Drake, Natalie La Rose, and Kid Ink.
To listen to Hot 97, click on the "Listen Live" button at the top of the site (this button appears on all the site's pages). A player will open in a new window and automatically begin streaming. Alternatively you can download one of their apps for on-the-go listening, or stream from a service such as iHeartRadio or tunein. Commercial breaks happen after every four or five songs.
Hot Hip Hop/R&B
Part of the New York-based Jango Internet radio service, the Hot Hip Hop/R&B station is listed among the top stations based on the number of listeners. The Telegraph includes Jango in its list of the best Internet radio stations, noting features such as being able to pull up the current song's lyrics as well as the artist's Twitter feed. When you tune in to Hot Hip Hop/R&B, you'll hear artists such as Ludacris, Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, and Kelly Rowland.
Once you load the station's page, the music starts automatically using the embedded player. One of the nice things about this site is that you will only hear one ad per day. Jango is free to use as a guest, though you can also register for free to customize your experience with the site.
Top Alternative Stations
Alternative music fans will find great tunes from the past and present by tuning in to these two top radio stations online.
Listed as one of The 40 Best Little Radio Stations in the U.S. by Paste Magazine, WBER is a school and listener-supported community station that offers up an eclectic mix of classic and modern alternative music. The station is based in Rochester, New York. Students from nearby colleges along with members of the community keep the station running both on-air and behind the scenes. Their extensive playlist includes artists like Sleater-Kinney, Muse, Of Monsters and Men, and Death Cab for Cutie.
To listen to WBER, click on one of the High or Low buttons (the "high" and "low" refer to bandwidth) from the site's main page. You'll get a prompt to download a .m3u file, which can then be opened using a number of different media players including iTunes, Windows Media, WinAmp, RealPlayer, and several mobile apps. Open the downloaded file and then choose the player you want to use to stream the station. Since it's a non-commercial station, you won't hear many ads at all while listening apart from the occasional request for donations.
For a more mainstream alternative option, try Alt.Hits, which is one of the top stations on the online radio service Rdio. Here you'll find a good mix of alternative from the 90s, 00s, and today, streaming live from San Francisco. Artists heard on this station include Interpol, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queens of the Stone Age, and Cage the Elephant.
You must register with Rdio to listen to their stations, including Alt.Hits, but registration is free and they only ask for your name, email address, year of birth, and gender (which is optional). There are paid memberships as well, which offer additional features like being ad-free. Once you register and sign in, you can listen to any station by clicking on it and then clicking the play button. You can then browse the site while the player is parked at the bottom of the page.
Top Rock Stations
Rock music covers many sub-genres, so it can be difficult to find a great rock station that offers up a good selection of music from different periods and styles. Try one of these stations if you're a rock music fan.
90.3 The Rock
Broadcasting from Nashville, Tennessee, 90.3 The Rock (WUTK) appears on the Men's Health list of The 20 Coolest College Radio Stations, as well as Best College Reviews' list of the Top 20 College Radio Stations. The not-for-profit station is run by the students at the University of Tennessee, and focuses on a variety of rock genres including modern rock, loud rock/heavy metal, and indie, though they do throw in a little world music and other genres from time to time. Artists heard on 90.3 The Rock include Toad the Wet Sprocket, Alabama Shakes, Six Feet Under, and Byzantine.
There are a few different ways that you can listen to this station. The Rock streams live through tunein radio, or you can choose to run an MP3 or Ogg Vorbis stream through your preferred media device. Podcasts are also available through Mixcloud. There are no ads at all on this station.
The Classic Rock station on Rdio is one of the service's top stations. Rdio was rated the best streaming radio station by Gizmodo, citing the ease of use and social integration. Classic rock fans can look forward to hearing artists such as The Doobie Brothers, Journey, Queen, Billy Joel, and even some classic punk from bands like The Sex Pistols. There's a good selection of live tunes as well as studio recordings too.
Rdio requires free registration to use the service, though you can upgrade to a paid membership to access extras like playlists, just like you can do with the Alt.Hits station. Once you have registered and clicked over to the Classic Rock station's page, just click on the play button to enjoy commercial-free classic rock songs.
Online Radio for Everyone
No matter what kind of music you enjoy listening to, online radio has plenty of great stations that offer both new music and old favorites. Start exploring some of these top online stations to discover all that Internet radio has to offer.