A few days ago CIB’s David Prewett sent me a link to Jack Schofield’s article in “The Guardian” of 5th March 2015 with the headline: “Do I need to buy a new internet radio to listen to BBC Radio?”. In it he suggests ways to resolve the negative consequences of the BBC’s recent decision to drop support for some internet streaming formats such as WMA and AAC which has led to many UK internet radio listeners being left out in the cold.
When suggesting how listeners can resolve the issue, Jack Schofield correctly points out that BBC radio streams can be accessed using almost any PC, smartphone or tablet. However, he fails to mention a useful little tool which has been around for a few years that can easily resolve many radio listening problems both at home and in the car.
So what solution am I referring to?
Well, this little device is usually hardly larger than a pack of cigarettes and can be used almost anywhere since it is powered either by a couple of AA batteries or your car’s cigarette lighter socket, or any USB connection. Of course, if you prefer, you can always use a wall socket.
Just plug this device into your PC, smartphone or tablet at home or on the move and it will play any radio station you have tuned to, through any FM radio receiver within a radius of up to 50 yards. That will certainly be a big enough range for any car and in almost all homes unless you own a vast mansion!
These useful little devices are called FM transmitters and need not cost more than about $100.00, sometimes less. You can select to transmit in Stereo or Mono on any FM frequency from 88 to 108 MHz.. You should, of course, follow any local regulations but it won’t usually cause a problem since the transmitting range is limited.
Finding a suitable FM transmitter isn’t too difficult. A Google or Amazon search will bring up a range of devices to choose from. As for me, I’ve installed two of these FM transmitters from WholeHouseTransmitter.com in my home. They include all the connector leads you need and the transmitters have been giving me excellent service with no problems for more than two years.
2 more Quick Tips to help overcome the recent BBC radio stream changes…
1. Avoid the “Listen Now” buttons on BBC and other UK radio websites. Instead use a comprehensive and regularly updated free portal like http://www.radiofeeds.co.uk as mentioned in the Guardian article.
2. Use VLC as your default media player. VLC is an open source, cross-platform multimedia player that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. There are versions for PC, Mac, Android, all free at: http://www.videolan.org/.