Mini review: Home Radio, the Mac app that could plug the gaps in Apple Music radio (free today only)

homeradio-mac-app

While we’re all expecting good things from the radio side of Apple Music, it’s going to be a curated experience, meaning we’ll get the radio stations Apple chooses to offer. If it doesn’t cover all of our favorite stations, we’re going to need another radio app to plug the gap.

For listening on the move, the free SwipeRadio iOS app is a delightfully minimalist way to do it. Developer Dataphase has now taken the same approach on the Mac, with Home Radio. The philosophy is the same: no bells, no whistles, just the radio stations you want to listen to in an extremely lightweight app.

I’ve been trying it out, and if you want to do the same, developer Noam Gordon is kindly making it free for today only (22 June) especially for 9to5Mac readers … 

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Home Radio does one thing, and one thing only: stream Internet radio stations to your Mac. There are no visuals, no discovery features – nothing to tell you what’s trending, no suggested stations, no social features. Type the name of the radio station you want into the search box and then click the station to play it.

There’s exactly one extra function: you can, of course, favorite stations once you find them. Those stations then appear at the top of the app. And that’s it: preferences are limited to whether or not you want the app in your menu bar, for easy pause/play.

I said there are no discovery features. You could in principle search for keywords like genres, but there you hit the one downside of the app: not all of the streams work. Every station I specifically searched for did, but not ones found by genre searches – suggesting that the database has a reasonable amount of outdated entries. So view this as an app designed solely to listen to your existing preferred stations.

I’m on a fast net connection, but did test it on a slow one, and stations still started playing within 1-2 seconds, with no mid-play buffering.

There’s really nothing else to say about an app this basic. It does what it says it does, and does it well. I’d consider it good value for a one-off $4.99, but if you grab it today, it won’t cost you a penny.

Home Radio is usually a $4.99 download from the Mac App Store. On Monday 22 June only, it is free.

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Comments

  1. rwanderman - 8 years ago

    I’ve been using TuneIn Radio for many years but this looks better. Thanks.

    • bergmayer (@bergmayer) - 8 years ago

      The app looks cool, but its description says “iTunes might have ‘radio’ but it doesn’t have RADIO (i.e. AM/FM),” which is not at all true. iTunes has *always* had internet radio, since version 1. I use it all the time.

      • rwanderman - 8 years ago

        Right, I agree, but iTunes has been a mess and radio has been buried. If one wants a simple way to listen to, say, an NPR station, running the mess that is iTunes isn’t the best way to do it. I’ve been running an app called MiniRadio on the Mac for years instead of iTunes and it’s been fine but this one looks better.

  2. berrylium - 8 years ago

    I installed it only to discover there was only one station available that I wanted to listen to. Then it had an “error connecting” to it. So I deleted the app.

  3. Alan Camp - 8 years ago

    Thank you for the free app for my mac and iPad!!

  4. Mark (@markmacbook) - 8 years ago

    Airplay capability would be nice.

    iTunes Internet Radio has no search function, which makes it very difficult to find stations.

  5. John (@gd0nfn) - 8 years ago

    Most BBC local stations will not play on this app, you do get a recorded message saying that the streaming is not compatable with this “Windows media format”.

    • It does by now – thanks for letting us know (BBC changed their stream formats recently, that’s why), we love you!!

      • John (@gd0nfn) - 8 years ago

        No update from the App store and BBC Lancashire, Cumbria and Derby (and others) still don’t work?

      • BBC Lancashire, Cumbria and Derby are updated. Let us know if you see any others that have issues.

      • John (@gd0nfn) - 8 years ago

        Not quite sorted yet, here are a few more stations that don’t work:

        BBC manchester, merseyside, norfolk, shropshire, suffolk, Three counties, ws news, ulster, humberside, merseyside, cambribridshire, chinese, cornwall , devon, humberside, kent, leicester, foyle, tees, sheffield (94.7fm), york, asian network, manchester, leeds, shropshire,notingham, oxford, r1, r3, r4 lw, r5 l, guernsey, jersey, nan gaid, york, noting ham, coventry andwarwickshie, linconshire, cymru,wales, bristol, wiltshire, oxford, stoke, somerset, berkshire, norfolk, devon, essex, cornwall.

        Seems like the BBC is not on your side but many thanks for the ones you have already quickly sorted.

  6. Great little app.Try Antenne Bayern “oldies but gldies” from Munich.Great sound.

  7. HI guys – this is Gordon from the Home Radio app, how do you do. Please write here in this page your station requests (or stations that don’t work) and we’ll take of you, bc we big fan of 9to5Mac!

  8. Alex Gaio - 8 years ago

    I much prefer Radium (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/radium-perfect-internet-radio/id597611879?mt=12). Does the same thing, but better. It’s prettier and ha a companion mobile app!

  9. NQZ (@surgesoda) - 8 years ago

    Do you know what ROI stands for? Yeah, that’s right — Radio; On Internet. LOL!

  10. Patrick Mead-Robins - 8 years ago

    I guess it’s just free today in the U.S., as it’s been and still is $5.79cdn in Canada.

  11. It shows up as $4.99 for me.

  12. it 10:45pm central time and its $4.99 it not free….

  13. Michael Scivally - 8 years ago

    I guess it wasn’t fee for the entire day. It is 10:51pm central time and it is still $4.99. I’m sticking with TuneIn.

  14. Same problem here. It wasn’t free the whole day I guess. It already went back up and for me, mountain time, we still have 80 min before midnight. Give us another day free, maybe?

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!


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