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How to add a radio station to iTunes

Predefined radio stations in the iTunes library

I love internet radio. And I love iTunes. So the next logical step would be for me to manage my favorite radio stations in iTunes – preferably in a special playlist only so that the radio stations don’t clutter up my iTunes library.

Now, iTunes comes out-of-the-box with some predefined radio stations. You can simply drag your favorite radio stations to your playlist. However, iTunes’ radio station list is far from complete. So it would be nice to be able to add new radio stations to iTunes.

The first thing you need is the URL to the live stream of the new radio station. Unfortunately, there is no way to add this URL to iTunes’ “Radio” section. Although there is the menu item “Open Stream…” (in the “Advanced” menu) that let’s you open any live stream, this live stream would be added to your iTunes library. Why is this a bad thing? Well, you can’t edit the meta data (eg. genre, title, artist, …) for live streams. If you stop a live stream and then play it again, the meta data will be reset to whatever the live stream tells iTunes. So you’ll end up with a lot genres in your genre list you don’t want to have.

Drag .pls file to iTunes playlist

The alternative is to add the live stream just to a playlist without adding it to your library. This is possible. Simply drag the live stream’s playlist file (with .pls file ending) to your iTunes playlist. This will add all entries in the playlist file to your iTunes playlist without adding them to your iTunes library. That’s it.

If you don’t have a playlist file but only the live stream’s URL, you can create a playlist file quite easily. Simply open your favorite plain text editor (note that Word will not work) and copy the following text:

[playlist]
File1=http://streamexample.com:80
Title1=My Favorite Online Radio
Length1=-1

NumberOfEntries=1

Version=2

Replace the values of File1 and Title1 with your live stream’s URL and name respectively and save the file as radio.pls. Now you can drag it to your iTunes playlist and you’re done.

"Repeat one" in iTunes

Hint: You may want to activate “Repeat One” (in iTunes lower left corner) for this playlist. This prevents iTunes from going to the next radio station in the list when there is a problem with the one currently playing.

2 comments

  1. Koenraad said:

    Indeed your method works fine, also in the current iTunes 21.1. The radio stations listed by default in iTunes are in my eyes a poor choice and do not include my favorite stations. It was however not difficult to find the live stream URL and so I manually put it in a .pls file and added that to a playlist.

  2. Koenraad said:

    I mean the current iTunes 12.1

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