Questions

How can I listen to Irish radio on the internet without WiFI?

I don’t have WiFi. How can I listen to Irish radio on the internet?
– Finbarr

There are many great internet radios, smart speakers and other devices which use WiFi. But it isn’t necessary to have WiFi to listen to radio stations from Ireland and other countries.

Popular national radio stations like RTÉ Radio 1 and Today FM, as well as local stations like Dublin’s 98FM and 96FM in Cork are available online.

Irish-language stations RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Raidió Rí-Rá can also be found on the internet.

Desktops and laptop computers

Whether you have a Windows, Mac or Linux laptop or desktop computer with internet access you can ‘tune in’ to online radio stations.

The easiest way to start listening to stations is to go online with your browser (e.g. Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari) and look for a specific station website. For example, you could search for Today FM or go directly to todayfm.com. The RTÉ website has a dedicated portal for its radio stations at rte.ie/radio.

If you prefer to browse Irish radio online there are directories and portals you can use. The listenlive.eu website has a page with Irish radio stations, while TuneIn has a search function. TuneIn also allows you to listen on their website, instead of visiting the radio station website. These websites will have a ‘listen’ button or a button with a play icon.

Before the prevalence of WiFi routers some broadband providers supplied routers or modems without wireless connectivity. If you have a broadband internet connection and are interested in having WiFi it may be worth contacting your supplier.

Smartphones with 3G or 4G

If listening to internet radio at your computer isn’t convenient you could look at using a smartphone instead.

Without using WiFi your phone will connect to the internet using 3G or 4G. Both of these are sufficient for listening to most internet radio stations.

Using 3G or 4G mobile data to listen to Irish radio stations will use your data allowance. Always ensure that you are aware of the size of your data allowance and the cost for exceeding it. On Pay As You Go tariffs this may simply run out and you would ‘top up’ to extend your data allowance, but on monthly contracts you may be charged extra. It is worth contacting your mobile provider to find out more before you start listening to internet radio stations in this way.

On smartphones you can often visit a radio station website using Chrome on Android or Safari on an iPhone and start listening on their home page. There are dedicated apps for listening to the radio which make it easier to browse different stations.

The Irish Radioplayer app is available for iPhone and Android smartphones. It includes all of the RTÉ stations, as well as independent local and national broadcasts. An alternative app is TuneIn, again available on iPhone and Android. The app can be installed from the App Store or Google Play, depending on your smartphone.

Listening to online radio isn’t particularly taxing on smartphones, so even if your phone is a few years old you may be able to install a radio app. Smartphones which use old versions of Android and iOS may eventually lose access to modern apps. If neither Radioplayer or TuneIn can be installed on your phone there may be an alternative app in the app stores, but exercise caution. Some radio apps may not work properly and could come with intrusive ads or other problems which may affect your phone.

MiFi Hotspots

Finally, if you don’t have a broadband connection at home, you could look into a MiFi hotspot. These small devices provide a WiFi signal, but connect to the internet through 3G or 4G mobile broadband. Once the device is online you can connect a laptop, smartphone or tablet to go online and start listening to radio stations. The same advice for computers and smartphones would then apply too.

MiFi Hotspot

A Huawei o2 MiFi Hotspot

The benefit of these devices is that after paying an up-front cost to buy the device it can be topped up, similar to a Pay as You Go mobile phone. This means you don’t have to change anything about your home landline and can budget a fixed amount, e.g. £10 per month for 1GB of data. Unfortunately the data often expires after 30 days.

An example would be the Huawei 4G Pocket Hotspot 2017 from o2 which costs £37 to purchase. Subsequent top ups for £10 provide 1GB of data and last 30 days. This should provide for 10 – 14 hours of listening to online radio, but will depend on the radio station.

It would be worth researching 3G or 4G coverage in your area before purchasing. Each mobile phone network has a signal coverage checker on the website, plus details about tariffs and MiFi devices.

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