In this piece, we show ways for how to find an internet radio stream URL. You may own an internet radio. Popular models include the Sangean WFR-20, IRIS Web Radio, Denon S32, or the Logitech Squeezebox Boom. If so, you may see that their station list web sites, may not have some streams you want.
So you could ask the admins at these sites to add the station to their list. But your device might not support the URL you want. If that’s so, they will not add it to their internet radio station list database.
So, to add that station to your radio, you first must find a playable audio stream URL for that station. This URL must play on your device without errors, for the site admins to accept it.
But if your devices does not rely on a radio service site, then you’ll have to handle this another way. Then, you must learn how to put the URLs into your radio yourself.
How to do this though, is device-specific. So figuring this out we leave to you as an exercise. Get into your radio’s manual to learn about it. But if there’s enough demand, we’ll write more posts, showing these methods for various internet radios.
This post offers hints on how you could get that audio stream. Now we don’t discuss here, how to plug that URL inti your device. But presumably, you already know how to apply it locally to your radio streamer.
How to Find Internet Radio Stream URL: Places to Look for It
Check Station’s Web Site for Their Live Stream
Most broadcasters these days have their own web sites, that have listen live or on-air links. These links allow internet users to listen in on their programs. Sometimes you get a stream URL by visiting the play link with your browser. Or, it might appear in the link properties. The stream links might also show in the browser’s address bar.
But nowadays, these links usually do not point directly at the playable stream URL. Instead, they point to a Flash-based player URL. Station owners intend Flash URLs for PC, smart phone, or tablet listening. These Flash URLs typically will not work as a live stream URL in non smart Internet radios. Still though, checking out the radio station’s website first, often yields the results you want. If it doesn’t, continue reading.
Check the Search Engines for the Station’s Internet Radio Stream URL
Remember, Google is your friend. So, if the above methods do not net you the playable stream URL, then check on a search engine. Try engines like Google, AOL, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, et al. Just search for “wwsw stream” for example, if you’re looking for the audio URL for WWSW FM.
Sometimes, people trade info about radio streams on the internet, by way of the forums. Many of these forums appear on internet radio manufacturer web sites. Your Internet search may find posts from these discussions. Now and then, a listener will share URLs that they’ve found to work. Your station may be among these thus.
But if the forum(s) aren’t searchable, often you can find an article that lists the stream. Just peruse these forums yourself. This is a time-consuming effort to be sure. But it’s well-worth spending a few minutes browsing there. If you really want to play that stream URL on your devices, these forums are a great resource for this.
You could even post a question to these forums that discuss Internet radio, asking if anyone knows the stream URL. The Internet Radio website lists several forums to consult, along with FAQs, listening tips, and thousands of station links.
Check for the Internet Radio Stream URL on Devices that Already Play It
You may already have an Internet radio that plays the desired station stream. But you want to play that stream on some of your other devices that do not have it. Usually, streams like this also play on your computer. So if it plays there, then you might find a useable URL for your target device. See below for details.
Look for Desired Internet Radio Stream URL on Popular Internet Radio Services
If it does not however, then you can check out a plethora of Internet radio aggregator servers that exist nowadays. These generally do not link to Flash players and apps currently. This is because they support many devices that cannot run Flash or apps.
We’ve listed below, just a sampling of them along with their web site URLs. For some of these, you’ll need to create an account to search them. You might also need a device serial number that they support to browse around their pages.
- iHeart Radio
- Internet Radio
- iTunes Radio (Need iTunes software installed to view stations)
So, in short, the first step is to find stations you want, that play on your computer. This is half the battle. Then, the other half, is to actually extract the stream’s UR. Finally, plug that URL into the desired player device.
How you might get that URL is discussed next.
How to Find Internet Radio Stream URL: Sniff Out the Radio Stream URL
Sadly, the actual audio stream URLs are often not visible in either the web sites or the Internet radios themselves. Typically, the radios and sites show you only the name and brief text description of the station; not its stream URL. So, you must do some detective work to get them. Try out a couple handy software tools that show you the URLs as you connect to them. The procedures below can help you zero in on that streaming media URL you’re after.
Network Sniffer Software Can Display Internet Radio Stream URLs
We’ve successfully used the following internet radio url finder programs to find broadcast stream URIs.
These two free programs can show you the network traffic on your computer. In a nutshell, you install one of them and set it to watch this traffic. Then, you play the station’s listen-live link or on air link in a browser on that same computer. These “sniffers” then list all the URLs that your computer asks for as it plays the station. Chances are, that one or more of these is a playable stream URL that will work on your device.
But you’ll often see many, MANY URLs fly by when you start a station. So figuring out which one is the actual stream URL can challenge your resolve.
The above programs can help with this. How? They have URL filters that allow you to display only the multimedia URLs. Even then though, you still may see a high URL list count. You may have to simply try playing each URL that appears to be a stream. If it actually is the stream, it will usually play. So be sure to sharpen your copy-paste skills for this.
How to Find Internet Radio Stream URL: Recognizing Internet Stream URLs
Many stations use the same streaming services. So, their playable URLs look similar.
Look for Popular Internet Radio Stream URL Domains
We’ve included popular internet radio URL formats, to show you what they look like. If you see URLs like this in your sniffer program, they are likely the playable streams you’re after.
Lots of stream URLs have things like “streamtheworld.com,” “akamaistream.net,” and, “liquidcompass.net,”. These are likely the URLs that your computer is playing while you listen. Often, stream URLs have words live, stream, MP3, or AAC as well.
At any rate, retrieve the URLs for your desired station that look like this. Then, the next step is to test them out on your desired device.
Some Internet Radio Stream URLs Point at Playlist Files
Again, how to do this depends on your make and model of radio. You may have to add the stream URLs to PLS, M3U, or OPML playlists. But many models can play the stream directly. You need not put the URL in a playlist file first for them to work.
About Internet Radio Stream URL Parameters
Notice that the URLs above have URL parameters. URL parameters are the parts of the URL that follow the first question mark (?) symbol.
You may not have to include URL parameters in the stream URL. But use as short a station URL as possible, so long as it still works. This avoids possible errors when copying long URL strings around.
But some streaming sites need URL parameters, for asking for the right stream type (MP3, AAC, AAC+, et al). The parameters also have various identifiers for purposes that only the streamer providers know.
So again, try the internet radio URL with and without the parameters. You’re better off if it plays without any parameters.
If you Suspect It’s an Internet Radio Station URL, Try to Play It
You need a healthy drive to fool around a little, to find the right URLs. But once you do, listening to your favorite stations on the net feels nice. They’re very clear, noise free, and you can listen to them anywhere there’s internet.
But keep in mind that URLs change often. So a working URL you find today, may not work at all tomorrow. Thus, it’s best to submit streams you find to the bigger web radio aggregation websites. Then they’ll often update it for you, should it change.
We hope this post helps you play your favorite audio streams onto your favorite internet based devices. Will add more as questions about this content surface. Good luck.
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- 2018-04-12: Revised post title and contents for better keyword targeting.
- 2015-11-28: Added appropriate tags.
- 2015-09-19: Added the Suggested Reading section along with more appropriate tags.
- 2014-11-24: Original publication.