Global Voices

An Interactive ‘Garden’ Lets You Travel the World Through Radio Broadcasts

Since late 2016, the interactive Radio Garden project has allowed users to explore the world through radio broadcasts.

Screenshot of the Radio Garden, an online platform that, since 2016, is enabling listeners to access thousands of radio stations from across the globe.

There’s a world of sounds out there to explore, and one online project out of the Netherlands lets you do just that.

Since late 2016, Radio Garden has since been connecting listeners to an ever-growing list of broadcasts from across the globe.

The interface is as simple as its vision: an interactive map composed of green dots that represent different cities. Click on it, and you'll be tuned into one of the chosen area's radio stations. You might stumble upon a news bulletin stream from Tonga; a traditional tune that's soothing its Iranian audience into slumber during the late hours of the night; or one of the few radio stations that continue to fill the airwaves in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Click on the “History” option on Radio Garden to be transported to an important part of a country's radio broadcasting history.

Other noteworthy features include a “History” function which showcases a country's traditional music and historic broadcasts; a “Jingles” section that, as its name suggests, offers a glimpse of a city's iconic radio jingles; and a “Story” option that offers first-hand accounts of people's involvement with community radio. Once again, all of these will take you to a different part of the world, be it the Taiwanese capital of Taipei or the down-under metropolis that is Sydney, Australia.

Here's a YouTube video that showcases the Radio.Garden in action:

The initiative was masterminded by the Institute for Sound and Vision in the Netherlands, under the direction of Golo Föllmer of the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. It relied on the expertise of two local design companies, Studio Puckey and Moniker, who decided that the best way to tackle the task was to create a comprehensive map without borders or city names.

When it originally launch, Radio Garden garnered widespread attention on social media. One of its designers, Jonathan Puckey, told The Guardian he was pleasantly surprised by the discussions he had seen about this project:

On Reddit, it prompted a really sweet discussion, with people talking about their first contact with radio, or grandparents who had worked in radio during the second world war.

The project's own Facebook page is also filled with words of encouragement and support, with users from all walks of life giving it rave reviews.

Aside from the website, Radio Garden has an app for iOS and Android devices, enabling users to listen to their selected broadcasts at their convenience – even if their smartphones drop into sleep/idle mode.

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