I’m one of those freaks who much prefers listening to radio than watching TV. Consequently, I like to have radios around me. I have one in my office, one in the kitchen, and one in the bedroom. I really need to get hold of one for the bathroom.
With the former installed on my iPhone and the latter used to create a list of favorite radio stations, I’ve now got streaming radio in my pocket whenever I need it. Fabulous.
French-made FStream knows how to play streams in a decent variety of formats including MP3, Ogg, AAC, M3U and the default used for BBC streams, ASX. (If you need some help getting them set up, the BBC streams site has a helpful tutorial. It’s worth noting that this site is NOT an official BBC product – I’m not completely clear who is behind it. Another thing to note is that the streams might not work if you are outside the UK.)
If you’re not interested in the BBC, the app comes with dozens of radio station presets from iTunes, SourceMac and ShoutCast. There’s all manner of stuff from all over the world.
And look, there’s more! FStream also includes a simple audio recorder. If the radio station starts broadcasting something you want to keep, flip over to the Record tab and hit Start to grab a copy of it, in WAV or AIFF format. Right now there’s no visible way of getting those recordings off the phone, but it’s still a very handy little extra to have. This really is a smashing little app. And it’s free.
There are disadvantages, of course. Unlike the iPod app, FStream will only play while it’s running; so you can’t start a stream and then have it burble in the background while you play a game or flick through your photos.
Judging by the comments about it at the App Store, FStream looks like one of those much-overlooked apps that deserves more attention. But then, radio nuts are in the minority, so it’s no wonder that radio streaming apps don’t get quite as much coverage as their farty brethren currently dominating the Store.