Oh, hi. Excuse me while I take off these headphones. I was just away in Key West, listening to Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" on the radio.
Actually, my body was sitting here in my home in North Carolina. But I decided it would be neat to listen to a Key West station while imagining the tourists congregating for the famous sunset-watching ritual. Who knows, some of them might be standing there listening to the very same radio station while gazing at that big orange fireball sinking beneath the horizon.
I found the live streaming audio of that Key West radio station on Mike's Radio World (www.mikesradioworld.com), perhaps the least flashy yet most useful radio guide Web site I have yet to come across.
"Mike" is Mike Dean, according to the scanty information available, and beyond that there's not much about him. His site is frankly amateurish looking, with layout and (minimal) graphics that appear to be straight out of the 1990s. (Based on the visitor counter displayed there, the site has existed at least since May, 2001.)
Despite such "deficiencies"--or perhaps because of them--Mike's Radio World is an excellent resource for those looking for live Internet radio streams from around the world. It's simple, straightforward and to the point without frills or fluff--not even any ads that I can see.
Mike's Radio World calls itself "Your global Internet radio guide," and with good reason. It contains links to more than 3,000 live radio streams, categorized by genre and then again by world region, followed by the country. The listing for each station includes two links, one to the station's Web site and the other to the live audio stream. If the user happens not to have the correct media player software on his or her system to play a particular stream, Mike has conveniently included a button for downloading it.
You could spend a lot of time roaming the world on this site and never listen to more than a fraction of the radio stations that are included in the 3,000+ directory. It would be fun to try, though.
Mike's Radio World is a throwback to the days when enthusiastic amateurs created Web sites on their favorite topics for the sheer love it, and not with the idea that they would make a ton of money from it. It does one thing and does it exceptionally well--provides a well-organized, easily navigable collection of live links to live radio streams for the radio junkies of the world.
Thank you, Mike!
Stefan Smith is a radio and music junkie who writes on these and other subjects for the Solid Gold Info Writers Consortium. Recently, he has written an extensive review of new software that anyone can use to capture music audio streams from Internet radio broadcasts and break them up into individual mp3 song files--a legal way to download virtually free music. Read the review at: http://www.solid-gold.info/radio2mp3.html