TuneIn. One of the favorite things I love doing when I travel is seeking out new radio stations. Discovering a station that kicks out the jams and keeps me engaged with entertaining local radio personalities is always a special treat. This is becoming even more difficult as radio becomes more homogenized. Not hatin’ Tom Joyner or Steve Harvey, but I can hear you guys at home. Oddly enough, I feel more at home in a distant place when I can absorb the local sounds.
All this is leading up to my current love affair with the TuneIn app, which thanks to my college pal Dex, has reunited me with WHUR in Washington, D.C., or more specifically, “The ORIGINAL Quiet Storm.” Howard University students and alumni know what I’m talking about. That late-night smooth R&B format imitated everywhere was pioneered at the Mecca, and nobody does it better than Howard University Radio.
The app boasts more than 50,000 stations and 21 genres, from adult contemporary to world music. I browsed for stations by location and immediately started plugging in my favorites, but you use other criteria, as seen below:
TuneIn does require an Internet connection, so you might want to watch your data usage if you’re not on an unlimited data plan. Other cool features:
Pro version upgrade (99 cents) lets you record, pause and rewind what you’re listening to.
An alarm timer lets you wake up to your favorite station.
A “schedule” tab gives you the station’s programming for the day.
A “playlist” tab identifies the song you’re listening to and upcoming ones.
Integrates with Roku streaming players.
I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the capabilities of SoundCloud. Music lovers who like creating, exploring and sharing new sounds can while away hours (or longer) on this app. I use it to keep up with the creative doings of my DJ sister and beat-making son. I can recommend both as a source of some serious party or workout music.
WhoSampled. I like all of these apps, but I feel as though the developers made this one just for me. As the site’s tagline proclaims, it’s all about “exploring the DNA of music.” Does it ever. The site claims a database of more than 153,000 songs and 56,000 artists. If I hear a hook or lyric and I know it’s from another song, it will bug me to no end until I track down the DNA of that song. Now, thanks to WhoSampled, when you know you’ve heard that beat, lyric or melody somewhere you’ll be able to put your finger right on it. And when you need to school a youngster about the roots of two-thirds of today’s rap … well, you get the idea.
A photo gallery is worth a thousand words, so let me illustrate, via Biggie’s “Hypnotize.” I’ve already allowed the WhoSampled app to scan the music library of my iPad2, and it’s come up with 307 tracks and 200 artists.