Radio Gaga: Spin a Globe to Tune in to Music From Around the World

Plug in earphones, and take a few minutes to travel with your mind.  
radio garden
The bright green dots in this screenshot of Radio.Garden signal the radio stations currently beaming live on its feed. Photo: Radio.Garden

Even in the digital age, radio is the fastest way to reach the widest audience around the world. For travellers who’ve learned to rely on Twitter and Google for the quickest updates, recent website Radio.Garden puts things in perspective. Radio.Garden displays a Google Earth-style topographical layout of the Earth; users spin the globe and click on the green dot icons to tune in to millions of stations beaming live. It’s a fascinating taste of human life around the planet. Fair warning: it’s addictive.

It’s 6.22p.m.in Mumbai. First, there’s the crackle of static as I move the cursor over mountain peaks and rolling ocean. And then there’s Bollywood music in Kathmandu, Christian radio in Chennai, Eric Pryde’s dance anthem “Call on Me” in Sri Lanka, a man talking over moody music in Almaty, Kazakhstan (I pick up the words “ambient” and “experimental”), and gently conversing men in Tangier, Morocco where it’s lunch-time. After spinning across the white noise of Antarctica to Ushuaia, Argentina, where it is 10.20a.m, the green dot yields only a whoosh and crackle, truly the loneliest sound.

Radio.Garden isn’t a comprehensive list of stations around the world. It is a project of Transnational Radio Knowledge Platform, created by Amsterdam’s Studio Puckey and Moniker, and commissioned by the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision to show how radio transcends borders. (Hence, the Google Earth-style display without territory lines.) The site encourages exploring cultures through their soundscape: “Tune into any place around the globe: What sounds familiar? What sounds foreign? Where would you like to travel and what sounds like ‘home’?” Apart from tuning into live stations, listeners can browse through the sections to hear jingles that best communicate a station’s flavour, and radio clips from the past (I hear the honk and tinkle of a 1986 Calcutta street).

Click here to start exploring.

  • Saumya Ancheri is the former Assistant Editor of NGT India's web team. She loves places by the sea, and travels to shift her own boundaries. She tweets as @Saumya_Ancheri.

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