As the world moves towards embracing the convenience of content on demand, technology has helped facilitate this shift by offering various platforms that you and I can easily use to access whatever it is that we are interested in. Despite this, if there’s one form of entertainment that has proven to remain firm and solid in the face of all this change, it has to be the good old radio.
Thanks to the Internet, technology has allowed us to innovate around the simple concept of the radio by making it more available to users as an app on their smartphone or handheld device. A simple search for the “best British radio app UK” on the iOS App or Google Play Store will reveal a long list of radio apps, making it difficult for you to know which one to choose from. For sure, you will come across a lot of good radio apps with 5 star ratings, but they may be tailored to a particular kind of user. You might also be tempted to search for the best free radio apps, but then again, not many free radio apps deliver the kind of quality that we would expect them to. With all this in mind, finding the best British radio app might seem like a hassle, even when it doesn’t have to be.
With the focus here being given to UK listeners, a good British radio app should ideally be easy to use, offer a large selection of both content and stations to choose from, and be based on software that doesn’t demand too much of your device to run. You want to be able to listen to the radio as you run some other intensive apps in the background without any glitches. To be able to achieve all this, you will need a good amount of time and effort when looking for the best British radio app; specifically one that matches well with your preferences.
To make this search easier Radio Fidelity has compiled a list of the best UK radio apps, and created this guide to ensure you find the best British radio app for you.
Here’s our list of the top ten British radio apps:
Best British radio app: 01. BBC Sounds
With the BBC’s iPlayer radio app becoming more of an old dog in the radio app space, it was certainly about time for the BBC to launch a more updated version to keep up with current trends. This need to adapt to the current market led to the successful release of BBC Sounds back in 2018. Like its predecessor, the revamped app features a simple layout, as well as the virtual turning dial that users had grown fond of and accustomed to. Users will still need to sign in through their iPlayer account, but this serves to their benefit as it allows the app to track their preferences, and offer suggestions based on their listening history.
BBC Sounds also allows users to sample what exists beyond radio. The app offers access to curated collections of speech such as comedy and documentaries, as well as other music themes like dance or rock. You’ll also still be able to stream through Car Play, or other devices thanks to Chromecast.
BBC Sounds also allows users to ‘continue listening’ from wherever it is that they might have left off on their radio shows and podcasts. Users will also be able to subscribe to whichever podcasts they enjoy listening to, thereby creating a curated list of content that gets continually updated as new episodes come out. The BBC refers to Sounds as an audio app, as it happens to put together music, live radio and podcasts all in one place. Go ahead and give it a try to see if it works for you, it’s certain to become a leading British radio app.
Anyone who is familiar with radio apps definitely knows about TuneIn Radio. The service exists as a free music streaming app that also has a website to stream from your smartphone or computer. It offers more than 100,000 radio stations, and allows users to find both local and remote radio stations. The service also categorises stations based on the type of music played, making it easier for users to find what they want to listen to.
The service also offers detailed information about the station you tune into, such as the last few songs that got played, as well as the station’s show schedule. Users are also able to add custom stations through their URL’s, and also identify who among their contacts uses the app. One nifty little feature offered by TuneIn is the ability to list all the stations that happen to be playing a particular song at a moment in time. This offers its users the choice to switch to stations that would be more oriented to their type of music.
The app also allows you to share the stations you’re listening to with your social media followers, and also leave comments on the station’s comment section. If you are not that keen about sharing what you’re listening to, then you can also set your profile to private so that nobody can see which stations you’re following. For users that might want to listen to radio through the app while driving, the app also has a Car Mode that restricts the display to four major buttons for easier navigation. Although not exclusively a British radio app, TuneIn does a pretty good job of covering the basics.
The UK RadioPlayer also features on our list of contenders for best British radio app as the it has a lot more to deliver compared to most. The service allows users to list stations based on their location, favourites and best picks. Listeners get to enjoy smooth playback even when on a 3G connection, and this sole capability ranks it firmly ahead of many other well-known radio apps.
At the time of writing the app has a slightly outdated user interface, but those that appreciate function over form will gladly look over this minor issue. It allows users to see whenever new episodes from their favourite radio shows are available, and to also stream radio content in high fidelity. This means users get to listen to audio quality as received from the broadcasters.
The UK Radioplayer also allows users to stream through most devices, as it is comes loaded with support for Android Auto, Google Cast, Android Wear, as well as Bluetooth playback. The app provides direct access to your favourite shows through its Easy Mode feature, and this makes navigating through the app a breeze. The UK Radioplayer also does not require any form of sign-up or account creation to use. Just download the app onto your device, and you’ll be good to go.
Founded in 2010, the popular myTuner Radio app allows users to listen in from stations based in over 200 countries around the world. This means users get to choose from close to 50,000 FM, AM and online stations. On top of that it also includes a filtering option that allows you to make your pick based on location, music genre or news. The app also makes it easier to fine tune your audio through its built in equaliser.
myTuner Radio users are also able to access a catalogue of over 1 million podcasts, categorised based on topics such as health, science, technology, news, politics, music and general entertainment. The app allows users to download these podcasts and listen to them when offline. Navigating through the app is also easy and straightforward as everything is well laid out and visible.
Being a free app, myTuner comes with ads, and this might be quite frustrating to some people. Especially if users are comparing this to a British radio app like BBC Sounds. To get rid of the ads, users can either choose to follow through some tasks that will then let you ‘unlock’ certain features, or you can just do an in app purchase that gets rid of the ads for you. The app can also identify which song is playing at any time on a particular radio station, and share what you’re listening to on social media. Like many other radio apps, myTuner also allows you to replace your conventional alarm sound with music from your favourite station. A great way to wake up in the morning if you ask us.
Audials Radio is arguably not as well-known as most of the other radio apps, but it packs quite a punch in terms of features and usability. The app lists more than 100,000 radio stations from different parts of the world, and close to 260,000 podcasts for you to choose from and listen to. Users get to browse through a minimalistic user interface, with more than 120 of song genres to pick from. The app is also a favourite among many as it does not spot any ads, or require its users to contend with in-app purchases.
Sorting out radio stations from all around the world is as easy as can be, and the ability to record playback from more than one station makes the app stand out among its competitors. The app also includes a smart feature named Zap, which picks up on your tastes in music through continued use and suggests stations that you are more likely to enjoy.
With every station you tune into, you’ll be able to access their social media feeds (Facebook and Twitter), and also view other similar stations, adding to such a wide array of options to choose from. The app also comes with an inbuilt five band equaliser that should allow you to fine tune your audio quality, and an SD card and cloud manager that allows for easier access of your own stored content. The Audials Radio app also has a nice list of peripheral features such as support for Chromecast and AirPlay, as well as a customisable alarm clock and sleep timer.
Could Audials be close to the top of your list for best British radio app.
Launched in the year 2000, AccuRadio is one of the oldest radio apps you could choose to listen to. The radio service has changed its tagline more than 5 times over the years, with its current one now reading “Better radio for your workday”. The service is specifically targeted towards day time working individuals, with a playlist consisting of “office specific” music. As such, the service is more popular with mature audiences aged 35 to 64.
On the surface, AccuRadio’s app really doesn’t offer much to get excited about. The service spots a simply built user interface, with about 1000 channels to choose from. It is still very popular among listeners that prefer to have a steady stream of great tracks play throughout their day without having to switch between stations all the time. Users also get to rate the tracks that play, and have the app curate music that they’d be more likely to enjoy. AccuRadio happens to be ad supported, allowing its listeners to enjoy the service for free.
For a radio app that has been around for such a long time, AccuRadio still offers a couple of handy features that you might come to appreciate. The service transmits a detailed string of data for tracks that get played, so listeners will always be aware of the song title, artist, album, composer, label and year of a particular track. There’s also the option to skip tracks as many times as you’d want during playback, as well as to ban artists whose music you’d not want to listen to.
Powered by Streema, Simple Radio is a great alternative for anyone looking for a clean cut radio app. It offers access to more than 45,000 stations worldwide, and supports both Internet and AM/FM radio. The service strives to keep things basic, with a favourites list for easy access, as well as the best buffering technology to allow for seamless one tap playback.
The service is great for listeners who know what they want, and wouldn’t appreciate suggestions being shoved their way. This is why the app doesn’t track or monitor your use. Simple Radio has versions for both Android and iOS versions, and they all come with a nice and clean UI. The service is ad supported, but allows for a one of payment for ad free use.
Simple Radio is hands down the best alternative for users who just want to listen to the radio without any of the bells and whistles that these new age radio apps provide. With tech support from Streema, listeners are assured of complete stability. All you’d need to do to get going is to download it from the Google Play Store, or the Streema website.
Another radio app that most people haven’t really taken note of is XiiaLive. This radio app promises to connect users to more than 50,000 radio stations from across the world, and offers customisation options that are rivalled by few others. The service allows users to choose their preferred themes from a list of skins, and to also dictate exactly how the app behaves on their device.
XiiaLive also includes a neat rewind feature which allows you to replay a certain song, but this only works depending on whether or not the station playing the track supports it. The service allows listeners to discover new stations through their Scan feature, and has a favourite’s list where the most listened to stations or songs can be stored. The app comes with an equaliser to adjust your sound quality accordingly, as well as a smart sleep timer that slowly fades away the music volume as you drift off to slumber.
XiiaLive is free to download and does not include any ads or in-app purchases. There is, however, a pro version that builds up on the features of the free equivalent to give an even better user experience for the listener. On the XiiaLive pro version for instance, users get to rewind up to 60 minutes back compared to only 5 minutes on the free one. There’s also a couple of advanced Bluetooth controls included on the paid version, as the app will allow users to pick a device upon which playback begins after connection and stops after disconnection. All these added features really make paying for the service quite tempting.
Best British radio app: 09. Radio Online (PC Radio)
For users who are used to moving around a lot and always having bad connectivity, Radio Online is simply a godsend. This innovative radio app seeks to make the most out of your bad connection by converting audio into AAC+ format through its custom servers, thereby cutting down significantly on the amount of data that gets used up or is required to stream your music. Reduced data use also means reduced buffering time, which translates to uninterrupted playback of your favourite tracks or radio station once you tune in.
There are two versions of the app to choose from. There’s the free version, which as you might have guessed, is supported by ads, and the paid version which comes with no ads and much better sound quality. The app is available on both android and iOS platforms, so there should be no issues about compatibility based on your device.
Once you download Radio Online and start it up, you will be presented with a list of random stations on your screen. Its only downside is that its radio station selection is limited to a few hundred, but users are encouraged to email support to have their preferred station added onto the app’s list. The service is quite lightweight and battery efficient, meaning that you’ll be able to tune-in for longer than you can with other radio apps when running in the background. The interface is quite easy to use, and the app provides a basic equaliser to fine tune your audio. It is also one of the few radio apps that guarantees immediate playback on tap.
Winding up our top ten list is Replaio Radio, another free online radio player with access to more than 30,000 radio stations scattered across the world. This radio app features a modern design, with innovation and ease of access being the main pillars of its user friendly interface. The app also tries to accommodate users that have a slow connection, by allowing them to customise their buffer length from within a range of 1 to 30 seconds. This helps maintain smooth playback even when on the move.
Replaio Radio offers many interesting features for users to test out. A few of them include program reminders for your favourite radio shows, the ability to pause or rewind live radio, a dark mode that consists of four levels, and a smooth volume fade in to gently get you up in the morning. As with many modern radio apps, Replaio Radio makes it possible for listeners to curate their list of favourite listeners or stations for ease of access. The app also allows for integration with other apps such as Spotify so that you can seamlessly add the song that you’re listening to on your Spotify playlist.
Replaio also enables users to add their own custom streams through URL, and is compatible with both Google Chromecast and Android Auto. Listeners can also choose to have the album art for the song they’re listening to appear on the lock-screen, or choose to have the display backlight on during playback. For users who are open to discovering new music, Replaio has an “explore” feature that is sure to introduce you to new sounds from all the different corners of the world.
There you have it folks, an in depth guide to the best ten radio apps for users in the UK. If you think there are a few we might have missed, or if your search for the best British radio app continues, feel free to share with us in the comment section below. Thanks for tuning-in!
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