With the slogan “Internet Radio You Control,” AccuRadio.com is a Chicago-based Internet radio portal featuring a wide range of specialty music channels. The brainchild of local media consultant Kurt Hanson, AccuRadio not only provides a variety of genres to choose from, it also lets listeners custom tune their favorite channels by allowing them to deselect artists that you don’t want to hear. For example, if you love 80’s music but hate the band Culture Club, all you have to do is click on the Culture Club tab once and you’ll never hear them again. (man, if WXRT had this feature, it would actually become listenable!)
Unfortunately with this freedom, you sacrifice a bit of creativity. Like its counterparts on AOL and Yahoo!, AccuRadio isn’t really a radio station…at least in the traditional sense. There are no live DJs and all selections are played randomly from pre-programmed playlists. The term “radio” is used rather loosely, “on-line jukebox” is probably a more accurate term for these kinds of stations. Basically, AccuRadio is like having access to numerous iPods programmed by fellow music geeks.
Speaking of which, this is where AccuRadio really has an edge over its corporate competitors. The individual stations on AccuRadio are created and programmed by people who genuinely love the music and specialty formats they are programming. For example, AccuRadio vice president Paul Maloney was a commercial radio program director during the alt-rock heyday of the early 90s. So, Paul created the “Modern Rock Classics” channel featuring classic alt-rock tunes from the 80’s through the mid-90s. Similarly, as a fan of avant garde music, AccuRadio tech guru Ralph Sledge created his own specialty channel in the classic format featuring some of his favorites from the scene like Steve Reich, John Cage, John Zorn, Philip Glass, etc.
Take a glance at all of the formats offered and all of the niche channels located under each genre heading. Chances are you’ll probably find a particular music style or niche that you are directly interested in.
While I’m still very partial to stations with live DJs, Internet radio stations like AccuRadio are a great alternative when you just want to sit back and listen to music without the chatter. Plus, even if you have an iPod and 50mb of MP3s, it would be still be very difficult to amass the amount of variety and depth in each particular format that AccuRadio offers.
Besides, you’ve got to love a radio station that lets you delete Dave Matthews from their playlist.
(Full disclosure: I actually used to intern for AccuRadio a couple of years ago. During my tenure, I created a channel consisting of one my obsessions, British Music. Check out the “Brit Rock” channel here)