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Do you love to listen to the radio? My ol’ pal Lolly sure did.

Once thought of as a dead medium in the age of moving pictures, the internet has allowed the radio to enjoy a renaissance and extend its reach. Dedicated mobile apps like BBC iPlayer bring on-demand playback of previously “live” only content,

But let’s say you want to listen to the radio on the desktop on Ubuntu. What are your options?

You might tune in to the Ubuntu Software centre. Good choice, but you’ll need to sift through a lot of static to find a gem. Heck, the last radio app we wrote about on this site was Radio Tray — all the way back in the fog of 2011!

But today I’m writing about a new radio app for Linux. It lets you find and play public radio stations on the Ubuntu desktop. No .pls or .m3u downloads necessary, no scanning required, no tuning equipment needed, and no URLs to copy and paste into a bloated music manager app.

Say hello to Gradio, easily the best radio app on Ubuntu.

Gradio — Best Radio App for Ubuntu

gradio-arc-theme-settings
The app even looks nice under Arc GTK. Who’d have guessed?!

Gradio is simple radio player app for the Linux desktop.

A native GTK application, it lets you browse, search and find radio stations, as well as listen to them, without needing to use a browser or enter an internet radio stream URL.

Gradio uses the community-based ‘Radio Browser‘ website for its database backend. This is a great choice. It means a broad range of different stations from all over the world are available to find and listen to inside the app, including major public service and commercial broadcasters like the BBC and Sweden’s RixFM.

Listening

Finding stations couldn’t be simpler: you click the ‘Discover’ tab and browse the featured stations, or enter a name or word to find a specific one, e.g., “BBC Radio 4”.

Clicking on a result shows a small pop-over with a number of options which are, from left to right: Like; open station’s homepage in a browser; play station; and add/remove to library.

gradio

Some radio stations show ‘now playing’ information in the playstrip at the bottom of the window, such as the name of the currently playing track, radio show or programme. Sadly many don’t, including the BBC.

gradio-info-bar-playing

This is a minor quibble and in no way the fault of the app, but worth keeping in mind if you tend to tune in hoping to catch a specific programme,

Features of Gradio:

  • ‘Discover’ section highlights popular radio stations
  • Search box lets you find specific radio stations
  • You can add radio stations to your library
  • Choice of views: grid or list
  • Programme information
  • MPRIS (sound menu) support

Install Gradio on Ubuntu 16.04+

You can grab a .deb installer of Gradio suitable for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and later from the project’s official GitHub page, linked to below.

Download Gradio

Let me know what you think of the app in the comments below.

And if you’re working on, or come across, any nifty apps you think the world should know about remember you can always tip us.

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#gradio