Antenna: A Vicarious Travel Tool

My teenage kids are pretty blasé about the internet.  For them it’s mostly about Facebook, YouTube, and spending their iTunes gift cards. Occasionally homework demands a wider excursion into cyberspace, but only briefly. Now, when I was their age, with an insatiable thirst for travel (both real and vicarious) and what we now call “world music”, my “internet” was called shortwave radio.   Surfing the shortwave bands from my bedroom in Santa Barbara (at first, with my father’s massive old Telefunken Gavotte with the winking green eye-tube that indicated signal strength; later with a Drake SW-4A), shortwave brought me news, music, and culture (and lots of political propaganda) from over a hundred countries.

Today, still with similar interests, I surf the world in cyberspace, with the added delights of imagery and two-way communication.  But there’s still something special about listening to a local radio broadcast from a distant land, even if it is “broadcast” through the internet, not bounced off the ionosphere. There are numerous tools for listening to internet radio, but here’s a new one that’s very cool: Antenna.

Antenna is a free Adobe Air application that brings you over 9,000 internet radio feeds from around the world.  It’s easy to install.  You can browse the list of stations by flag, country, genre, or map.  And as a sometimes-cartographer in my day job, I really like the map-based interface in Antenna. You can choose from a dozen different base maps and see where the stations are located.  Give it a try.

Antenna screen shot.

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Copyright © 2010 Tim Messick. All rights reserved.

About Tim Messick

Photographer, cartographer, and botanist/naturalist. Home is in Davis, California. Home-away-from-home is the eastern Sierra Nevada. Compiling a flora of the Bodie Hills.
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