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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Radio? Sure! Over Ten Thousand Stations

It's no secret that I love internet radio and streaming music over the web. I am still amazed that you can click a button and hear radio stations from the other side of the world.

I've found another Windows only application that is screen reader-friendly and will tune into more than twelve thousand stations! If you can't find something to listen to, you're probably not looking hard enough. The following directions from the AccessContent Blog will have you listening in minutes!

Launching Radio Sure:

If you've been successful with the install, the program should launch automatically afterwards.  An online radio station should start playing.  First thing to do is stop the music and configure a few things.  TAB through the screen until you hear "play Button".  Press the SPACEBAR and the stream will stop. 

TAB to options and press the SPACEBAR to activate the option pages.   

General Tab:

Remember, you can move between the tab pages by pressing CONTROL+TAB. 

A few things you might consider modifying in the general tab.

  • Whether you want the program to start with windows.  Don't see the advantage of this, as I'd rather control when it's playing.
  • Whether you want a stream to start playing when you launch the program.
  • And my favourite, Global hotkeys. I would urge you to enable this, as it then gives you the option of controlling RadioSure from anywhere.  See "Global Hotkey List" at the bottom of this entry.
  • Minimize the program to the system tray is handy, as it takes it out of the way.  You can summon it back to the foreground with one of the global hotkeys listed below.

We will skip the Skins tab, as it makes no difference to screen readers. 

Recording Tab:

Yes, you can record the streams with this program.  One thing you might consider changing on this tab:

  • The recording folder.  The default is to put it within a folder called music under the RadioSure program.  You can point this folder to any folder of your choice with the unlabelled "browse" button.  You can look around the other options on this tab at your leisure. 
The Advanced Tab:
  • You can choose your preferred audio device.  Leave this one alone, unless you are having audio issues, or prefer to use a specific device.
  • I'd suggest checking the "Always show station in the window title", so you can easily hear the station name by pressing INSERT+T withmost screen readers.
  • I'd uncheck "Show pictures related to songs", but that's just personal preference.  

Press SPACEBAR on the "OK" button and the setup is complete.

Yay! Let's start listening and finding radio stations.  

The Main Window:

The first area on the program window is the list of all stations; over 12000 from across the globe.  No non-terrestrial station as of yet, but who knows.

Navigate this list with the UP and DOWN ARROWS.  PRESS ENTER to start playing.

Volume Control:

TABBING brings you to the volume control.  It's independent from the system volume, which means it will not interfere with the screen reader levels.  Use PAGE up/PAGE DOWN for 20% increments. Use LEFT and RIGHT ARROWS for 5% increments.  And finally, use UP and DOWN ARROWS for 3% increments.   


Another press of the TAB will bring you to the search area.  Simply type a station name, a genre or even radio call letters and the station list will be populated with the results.  No need to even press ENTER when done.  Press SHIFT+TAB twice to get back to the modified listing.  To get back to the full list of stations, erase the search term.  

Those are the main features of Radio Sure and should give you a good base to get started.  All in all, a nifty little program if you like listening to online radio, but are too lazy to go surfing the web to find them all. 

As promised, here are the global hotkeys.  They make using the program even sweeter.

  • (Shift + Alt + H) toggle hide/show Radio Sure
  • (Shift + Alt + Number pad Plus) volume down
  • (Shift + Alt + Number pad Minus) volume up
  • (Shift + Alt + M) Mute
  • (Shift + Alt + P) toggle Play/Stop
  • (Shift + Alt + S) Stop
  • (Shift + Alt + B) Back
  • (Shift + Alt + N) Next
  • (Shift + Alt + R) start/stop Recording.  
Click this link to download the Radio Sure player:

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