musicword.jpgIf you love music and have a broadband Internet connection, you are in luck. There is a whole world of music at your fingertips.

musicword.jpgIt's called Internet Radio. It has become so popular that almost all radio stations are now "streaming" their audio over the Internet. That means that you can now listen to the station that you loved as a youth, or that wonderful station you heard when you were in another state or another country. There are thousands of radio stations that can be accessed over the Internet.

If you are looking for a certain station, you can often find it by simply putting the call letters and the station location into a search engine like Google. You can also try the Radio-Locator website. This website will help you find the website of the radio station. You can search by call letters, city, genre or country. Once you have found the radio station of your choice, you simply click on "Play" and listen through your computer speakers.

There are two web services that I really love for Internet radio. The first is called Pandora which lets you create your own radio stations based on the type of music that you like. You simply choose an artist or group that you like and Pandora will create a radio station with that artist's music along with that of similar music. It is amazingly accurate. I created a Glenn Miller station and it presented me with music from Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and several other similar artists who were new to me. As each song plays you can vote on that song. If you like it, give it thumbs up. If not, give it thumbs down. This allows Pandora to adjust the music to suit your tastes. You can create multiple stations to get music for every mood.

My other favorite service is called Screamer Radio. Screamer radio lets you download a small player. Screamer lets you search for Internet radio stations by genre, network, region, or network. Once you find a station that you like, you can set it as a favorite. The real beauty of Screamer Radio is that you can record anything that you hear and play it anytime you like. Screamer is one smart little program. If you decide that you want to record a song that has already started playing, you simply press "record" and it will record from the beginning of the song. Screamer Radio uses Windows Media Player so it is available only to Windows users and there are a few stations that can't play because of licensing agreements, but it is a terrific tool.

You can listen to Pandora on your computer and on most mobile devices like the Blackberry and the iPhone. You can listen to Screamer Radio or just about any radio station on your computer. However, the real beauty of Internet radio shines through when you can listen on a portable radio or on your own stereo system. There are several Internet radio devices available.

The one that I've been trying out lately is called Ira. It is by Myine Electronics. It costs $149.00, but there are no monthly subscription fees. The Ira is a small device approximately 6" x 3" x 1 ½". It comes with the necessary audio cables to hook it up to a radio or stereo system. Any device that has an AUX audio port will work with the Ira. I hooked mine up to a Bose Wave radio. Once you plug everything in and turn it on, the Ira will automatically find your wireless network and the setup wizard will walk you through setting it up. It took about 8 minutes to setup the Ira. Even though my wireless network was password protected, it was amazingly easy. You don't have to do any setup on the computer. In fact, while you do need a wireless network, you really don't even need a computer to make the Ira work.

You control the Ira with a small remote control. At first I thought that this would be problematic, but again, it worked like a charm. The Ira automatically hooks up to thousands of Internet radio stations from all over the world. At last count there were over 11,000 free stations. You can search for them by genre, like jazz, classical, rock, etc. or you can search for them by location including hundreds of countries. You can quickly and easily set any station that you like to be a favorite. Ira lets you have forty favorites.

There are also several other Internet radio devices available. Whether you choose to listen on your cell phone, your computer, or a dedicated Internet radio device, I guarantee that you will be amazed by both the quality and quantity of Internet radio stations.