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4.8. Internet Radio

Not satisfied with being a mere virtual jukebox, iTunes also serves as an international, multicultural radio without the shortwave static. You can find everything from mystical Celtic melodies to American pop to programming from Japan, Italy, Germany, and other spots around the globe.

Computers with high-speed Internet connections have a smoother streaming experience, but the vast and eclectic mix of musical offerings is well worth checking out even if you have a dial-up modem. Just click the Radio icon in the Source list to see a list of stations, as shown in Figure 4-19.

Figure 4-19. The Radio list displays the categories and subcategories that can take you around the world in 80 stations with iTunes. Click the Refresh button to update the station list.

Just like the cars backed up on the interstate right before a long holiday weekend, streaming audio files are also subject to traffic jams while traveling across the Internet. If you find your radio streams are constantly stuttering and stopping, try this:

Choose iTunes→Preferences (Mac) or EditÆPreferences (Windows). In the Preferences dialog box, click the Advanced icon or tab. From the Streaming Buffer Size pop-up menu, choose Large. Click OK.

Audible.com: Spoken Like a True iPod

You can download any of 5,000 audio books right in the iTunes Music Store, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to hit the motherlode of spoken-word recordings, head to Audible.com. You can listen to Audible selections on your iPod, including audio books, current newspaper articles, and so on. All you need is iTunes 3 or 4, and iPod software version 1.2 or later.

First, make sure iTunes is configured properly for the task. Choose iTunes→Preferences (Mac) or Edit→Preferences (Windows), click the General icon, and turn on Use iTunes for Internet Music Playback.

Then visit the Audible site (http://www.audible.com), create a user account, and buy an audio file to download. Your Web browser whisks you to a page called My Library, where you can see the files you have selected.

On that page, click the Get It Now button next to each file. The iPod can play Audible files in formats 2, 3, and 4, which indicate the relative audio quality settings. Remember, though, that higher quality files like format 4 take up more space on the iPod.

Click the Download button on the Web page.

Macintosh: The Audible file appears right in iTunes. Double-click it and (if this is your first listen) enter your Audible.com name and password.

Windows: Use the Audible Manager program described on Section to get the file into iTunes.

Either way, your spoken-word recording will arrive on the iPod the next time you sync it with your computer.

Having the buffer set to Large may increase the waiting time before the music starts flowing through your computer from the Internet, but it allows iTunes to hoard more music at once to help make up for interruptions caused by network traffic.


It's possible to save music streams to your computer's hard drive, although the practice dances dangerously close to copyright infringement. Programs like Streamripper X for Mac OS X (from http://streamripperx.sourceforge.net) or Audiolib MP3 Recorder (at www.audiolib.com/recorder) for Windows let you save radio streams as MP3 files.

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