Radiooooo: Discover the Musical Time Machine That Lets You Hear What Played on the Radio in Different Times & Places

Radio has always been a fair­ly trans­portive medi­um.

Dur­ing the Great Depres­sion, entire fam­i­lies clus­tered round the elec­tron­ic hearth to enjoy a vari­ety of enter­tain­ments, includ­ing live remote broad­casts from the glam­orous night­clubs and hotels where celebri­ty band­lead­ers like Count Basie and Duke Elling­ton held sway.

1950s teens’ tran­sis­tors took them to a head space less square than the white bread sub­urbs their par­ents inhab­it­ed.

Dur­ing the Viet­nam War, South Viet­namese sta­tions played home­grown ren­di­tions of the rock and soul sounds dom­i­nat­ing Amer­i­can air­waves.

The site (there’s also a ver­sion avail­able for the iPhone and Android) allows mod­ern lis­ten­ers to expe­ri­ence a bit of that mag­i­cal time trav­el­ing sen­sa­tion, via an inter­ac­tive map that allows you to tune in to spe­cif­ic coun­tries and decades.

The con­tent here is user-gen­er­at­ed. Reg­is­ter for a free account, and you too can begin shar­ing eccen­tric faves.

Find a user whose tastes mir­ror your own? Click their pro­file for a stat card of tracks they’ve favor­it­ed and uploaded, as well as any oth­er sundry details they may feel like shar­ing, such as coun­try of ori­gin and age.

There are fun awards to be earned here, with the most sought after pelts going to the first to upload a song to an emp­ty coun­try, or upload a track from 1910–1920. (Cameroon, 1940 … go!)

As with an actu­al radio, you are not select­ing the actu­al playlist, though you can nudge the nee­dle a bit by tog­gling to your desired mood—slow, fast and/or weird.

And you need not lim­it your­self to a sin­gle des­ti­na­tion. Embark on a strange musi­cal trip by using Radiooooo’s taxi func­tion to car­ry you to mul­ti­ple coun­tries and decades. (I closed my eyes and wound up shut­tling between Ukraine and Mau­ri­ta­nia in the 60s and 80s.)

Dot­ted around the map are island icons, where the ever-grow­ing col­lec­tion is sort­ed accord­ing to themes like Hawaii, Nev­er­land (“for chil­dren big and small”), and 8‑Bit video game music. Le Club, float­ing mid­way between Europe and North Amer­i­ca, con­tains brand new releas­es from con­tem­po­rary labels.

The Now Play­ing win­dow includes an option to buy, when pos­si­ble, as well as the artist’s name and album art­work. Share, like, get your groove on…

And stay tuned for Radiooooo’s lat­est baby, Le Globe, an inter­ac­tive 3‑D map of the world and a decade selec­tor dial mount­ed on a “beau­ti­ful con­nect­ed object.”

The bound­aries are extreme­ly per­me­able here.

Have a browse through Radiooooo’s Insta­gram feed for a feast of cov­er art or head to France for one of their in-per­son lis­ten­ing par­ties. (There’s one next week in the secret lis­ten­ing room of Paris’ Grand Hotel Amour.)

Read­ers, if your explo­rations unearth an excep­tion­al track, please share it in the com­ments, below.

Down­load the Radioooo app for Mac or Android here, or lis­ten on the web­site. (You may need to fool around with var­i­ous browsers to find the one that works best for you.)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear 1,500+ Gen­res of Music, All Mapped Out on an Insane­ly Thor­ough Inter­ac­tive Graph

Behold the MusicMap: The Ulti­mate Inter­ac­tive Geneal­o­gy of Music Cre­at­ed Between 1870 and 2016

Google’s Music Time­line: A Visu­al­iza­tion of 60 Years of Chang­ing Musi­cal Tastes

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Her radio dial is set to Roma­nia 1910 in antic­i­pa­tion of the third install­ment of her lit­er­ary-themed vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain , Mon­day, April 23 at the New York Soci­ety Library. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

by | Permalink | Comments (4) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (4)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • sfemet says:

    I’ve used Radioooo for a long time, it’s so much fun. I’ve always used the web site, espe­cial­ly at work. Thank you for let­ting me know about the app.

    If you’ve got the blues, or things are too stress­ful, dial in to Cana­da in the 1930s. Just the best.

  • Petteri says:

    I was a bit dis­ap­point­ed that it’s not actu­al radio pro­grams but just songs. After all, large amounts of record­ed radio shows exist. This should be the next step…

  • Katerina Faye Chan says:

    I hope this is going to be fun

  • Phil Mawson says:

    So sad, this used to be com­plete­ly free to use and now it is locked behind a sub­scrip­tion pay­wall. Luck­i­ly there are plen­ty of free retro radio sta­tions that are still com­plete­ly free like Radio Dis­muke.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.