Some of you may think I wrote all there was to say about online radio, but alas, you were wrong.
While catching up on a bunch of my utterly geeky newsletters this weekend, I happened upon a very snazzy and easy to use Online radio aggregator, (love that word). This little gem is called Radio Sure and it is accessible to screen readers without any modifications.
Setting it up:
Let's go download this free application at the following link:
Choose the slow mirror for best results.
When asked to save or run, I chose run, just to minimize clutter on my hard drive. Follow the on screen prompts.
Launching Radio Sure:
If you've been successful with the install, the program should launch automatically afterwards. An online radio station should start playing. First thing to do is stop the music and configure a few things. TAB through the screen until you hear "play Button". Press the SPACEBAR and the stream will stop.
TAB to options and press the SPACEBAR to activate the option pages.
Remember, you can move between the tab pages by pressing CONTROL+TAB.
A few things you might consider modifying in the general tab.
- Whether you want the program to start with windows. Don't see the advantage of this, as I'd rather control when it's playing.
- Whether you want a stream to start playing when you launch the program.
- And my favourite, Global hotkeys. I would urge you to enable this, as it then gives you the option of controlling RadioSure from anywhere. See "Global Hotkey List" at the bottom of this entry.
- Minimize the program to the system tray is handy, as it takes it out of the way. You can summon it back to the foreground with one of the global hotkeys listed below.
We will skip the Skins tab, as it makes no difference to screen readers.
Yes, you can record the streams with this program. One thing you might consider changing on this tab:
The recording folder. The default is to put it within a folder called music under the RadioSure program. You can point this folder to any folder of your choice with the unlabelled "browse" button. You can muck around with other options on this tab at your leisure.
The Advanced Tab:
Press SPACEBAR on the "OK" button and the setup is complete.
Yay! Let's start listening and finding radio stations.
The Main Window:
The first area on the program window is the list of all stations; over 12000 from across the globe. No non-terrestrial station as of yet, but who knows.
Navigate this list with the UP and DOWN ARROWS. PRESS ENTER to start playing.
TABBING brings you to the volume control. It's independent from the system volume, which means it will not interfere with the screen reader levels. Use PAGE up/PAGE DOWN for 20% increments. Use LEFT and RIGHT ARROWS for 5% increments. And finally, use UP and DOWN ARROWS for 3% increments.
Another press of the TAB will bring you to the search area. Simply type a station name, a genre or even radio call letters and the station list will be populated with the results. No need to even press ENTER when done. Press SHIFT+TAB twice to get back to the modified listing. To get back to the full list of stations, erase the search term.
Those are the main features of Radio Sure and should give you a good base to get started. All in all, a nifty little program if you like listening to online radio, but are too lazy to go surfing the web to find them all.
As promised, here are the global hotkeys. They make using the program even sweeter.
(Shift + Alt + H) toggle hide/show Radio Sure,
(Shift + Alt + Number pad Plus) volume down,
(Shift + Alt + Number pad Minus) volume up,
(Shift + Alt + M) Mute,
(Shift + Alt + P) toggle Play/Stop,
(Shift + Alt + S) Stop,
(Shift + Alt + B) Back,
(Shift + Alt + N) Next,
(Shift + Alt + R) start/stop Recording.