Nathan Willis

Nathan Willis at

While we're at it, please stop calling your streaming-music application a "radio" app.

There is such a thing as radio. You can access it from an app. HTTP audio streaming is not it.

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I'm with @Nathan Willis on this one. Broadcast can have many meanings.. but we are talking about the term "Radio", which is fairly strictly defined as sending waves of EMF through the atmosphere (aka radio waves) to a remote receiver.

Calling a streaming station "Radio" (unless it is a webstream from an IRL radio station) is indeed incorrect. If it were "radio" I'd be able to tune a reciever to the correct frequency and walk all over the place and listen to it... without incuring mobile data charges.

Many cellphones include an FM radio reciever (software disables in many models because the carriers want you to rack up data charges).

So thats my point of view. VoIP is not POTS, a router is not a modem, a Desktop (computer) is not a Harddrive, and on and on. It's not nitpicking, imprecise language leads to imprecise thinking and communication.

Freemor at 2016-10-14T11:36:42Z

bthall, Douglas Perkins likes this.

If a radio station's transmitter fails temporarily, does their web stream stop being "radio" temporarily? What if the transmitter fails and never gets fixed? What if the transmitter only covers a very small area, like a single town, or a single college, or a single block? How many feet of coverage are needed for it to be "radio"?

Would it still be "radio" if the station's transmitter were changed to an open wifi access point that broadcast the stream? Or is AM/FM modulation necessary for it to be "radio" -- and then what about satellite radio?

Seems like a really silly set of questions to quibble over. Better to say that technology is complex, ever-changing, and ofen broken, and that language is complex, ever-changing, and generally imprecise. Any mapping between technology and language will thus be imperfect.

Instead, we could consider that traditional radio broadcasts as a medium of expression afford a certian collection of behaviors, and that other things close to them in the continuum tend to fall under the "radio" term at the moment.

(Notice that cable TV is still considered "television" despite having abandoned atomspheric transmission decades ago, and more recently moving to TCP/IP, and indeed often not being watched on a television.)

joeyh at 2016-10-14T12:46:22Z

Charles Stanhope likes this.

Re: transmitter failure, range, etc.. I was saying I can understand a Radio Station calling their webstream radio as they are an actual "radio Station" (aka have a broadcast license). if they abandoned wireless transmission. Then they need to stop calling themselves "Radio"

Yes WiFi is Radio Technology as it falls between 3000 hertz and 300 gigahertz, and uses radiant EM.. see:

Satellite radio is also radio (radiant EM in the range above)

Televison is defined as transmission by either wire or Radio. See: Also most still brodcast digitally via ATSC which you can still pick up for free with a receiver. (Cable companies just don't want people to know about this)


As to your later points.. Yes language is often muddy and imprecise, but it doesn't have to be. People can take the time to learn the correct terms and apply them correctly. I'm not trying to be a troll here. This is just a pet peeve of mine. probably steming from my early involvement in Technology/Electronics and also Philosophy in which precise definition of terms is important before beginning a discussion ( )

Freemor at 2016-10-14T14:18:25Z

The real harm here, of course, is that all these HTTP streaming applications pollute the package namespace and push actual radio-tuner applications into DotComGibberish naming territory.

Also, please do note that my original comment was about app names and was not about what broadcasters name their services.

Nathan Willis at 2016-10-15T09:40:58Z