Best Radio Apps for iOS and Android in 2021

If there’s one type of media that shows no signs of slowing down, it’s radio. Over 71 million adults aged 18 - 34 tune in each month and a staggering 115 million aged 50+. Radio apps are so easily available on our smartphones nowadays, but which apps are out there and which are any good?

To help you find your next favourite radio app, take a look at our masterlist below. To find out more about any station, just click on its name. All apps are available for both iOS and Android, and are free to download!
 

App

Genre

Download links

Cost

BBC Radio 2

Wide selection of music

Apple

Android 

Free

Heart

Contemporary music

Apple

Android

Free

Capital FM

Trending music on the charts

Apple

Android

Free

Classic FM

Classical music

Apple

Android

Free

Jazz FM

Jazz music

Apple

Android

Free

Planet Rock

Classic rock, punk, and metal music

Apple

Android

Free

LBC Radio

News and opinions

Apple

Android

Free

Sky News Radio

Breaking news, sports, business, and entertainment

Apple

Android

Free

BBC Radio 5 Live

Live music, documentaries and broadcasts

Apple

Android

Free

TuneIn Radio

Live news, sports, music, and podcasts

Apple

Android

Free - offers in-app purchases

The popularity of radio

Rajar found that approximately 89% of the population (aged 15 and above) choose to digest their morning news or music by audio, rather than staring at a screen. They also found that the average listener tunes into their station of choice for 20.2 hours per week, and that 67% listened via a digital platform like an app. 

So which one will you be tuning into?

BBC Radio 2

It goes without saying that BBC radio dominates the market, offering listeners the choice of many radio stations. With so many BBC-owned channels, how do you know which to pick? Well, it depends on what you like to listen to, but for general music lovers, we think Radio 2 is your best bet. 

BBC Radio 2 predominantly features adult contemporary music, but has a wide range of programmes available for all types of listeners, specialising in a host of genres like folk, classical, pop, soul, country, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, blues, and jazz - so there’s something for everyone. 

Use the app to listen to Radio 2 live any time of day, as this is a 24-hour station with DJs working around the clock. Missed your favourite presenter? Use the catch-up feature and listen to shows from the past. 

You can also set up the app to function as an alarm clock, employing the built-in timer to wake you up at a certain time each morning. 

Here’s what the other BBC channels can offer you:
 

Radio station

Type of music

BBC Radio 1

Modern popular music, as well as electronica, dance, hip hop, indie

BBC Radio 4

Variation of entertainment and news

BBC Radio 5 Live

Live artist performances, but mainly documentaries and broadcasts relating to news and sport

BBC Radio 6 Music

Alternative


To access all BBC Radio stations, including Radio 2, you’ll need to use the BBC Sounds app.
 

Heart

Heart has been providing listeners with a more pop-centred, contemporary playlist since 1994, though the radio station still plays tunes from Heart 80’s for those who prefer the earlier music. 

With the app, you can listen to Heart radio live, catch up with your favourite shows that you might’ve missed, download programmes to listen to offline, subscribe to favourites, check the schedule for upcoming music and presenters, and skip songs on live radio. 

There’s also a Podcast section on the app to listen to episodes, as well as a Playlist section to encourage exercise.

Downloading the Heart app means you also have access to some of Global’s other stations, like Capital, Gold, Classic FM, and Smooth. 
 

Capital FM

Aimed predominantly at millennials, Capital FM plays whatever is trending on the top charts. It repeats the most popular, highest-ranking songs streaming at the time, so you can keep listening to all of the newest and best hits. 

Using the app, you can skip songs live on radio, download and listen offline, catch up on shows you’ve missed, subscribe to favourites and have them automatically downloaded each day for your commute, read the latest news on artists and music being released, and explore the other Global stations available. 

There’s also a Podcasts and Playlists section. 
 

Classic FM

If you’re less into modern music and prefer classical, this is the radio station for you. Classic FM plays music from the world’s greatest classical composers and musicians, specialising in orchestral and operatic styles. 

With shows hosted by John Suchet, Myleene Klass, and Alexander Armstrong, listeners are able to subscribe to their favourite presenters and download episodes to listen to later. As part of the Global family, downloading the Classic FM app allows you to access Capital, Capital Xtra, Heart, LBC, Radio X, Smooth, and Gold.

Skip songs on live radio, access the latest news and music in the classical industry, or choose the Playlists tab for exercise or relaxing music (perfect for when you’re meditating). There’s also a Podcast section to listen to some like-minded discussions on topics of interest. 

Discover more stations that play classical music, like Scala Radio.
 

Jazz FM

There’s a radio station for all types of music fanatics. For jazz lovers, Jazz FM is, non-surprisingly, the best UK station to tune into. 

If you miss something, you have seven days to listen with the Catch Up feature. You can also build up a queue of shows to listen to later, so you don’t forget. 

The app has a search feature, allowing you to easily find your favourite shows and podcasts. You can also choose to browse through the recommendations, which are calculated by your personal interests, and explore Jazz FM’s most popular plays to see what’s trending. 

Furthermore, you can enter competitions or watch live music sessions and interviews directly through the app. 
 

Planet Rock

For fans of rock music, Planet Rock is undoubtedly the best app for you to download. From classic rock to punk to metal, this station covers all bases. Listen to the likes of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Foo Fighters, Guns N’ Roses, and much more. 

Listen to your favourite music, hear famous artists discuss their careers, catch up on ‘The Hairy Rock Show Podcast’ hosted by The Hairy Bikers, revel in the ghoulish radio section ‘Nights’, presented by Alice Cooper, and rock out to the best tunes with ‘The Joe Elliott Show’.

Build your own playlist with the My List queue, and explore the recommendations to add new songs that the app thinks you’ll enjoy. 
 

LBC Radio

For way less music and way more conversation, check out the LBC Radio app. This station focuses on delivering news stories and opinion-based discussions on current affairs topics. 

An abbreviation for ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’, you can listen to shows live and offline while on the move, catch up on missed conversations, subscribe to your favourite shows and have them automatically downloaded each day, check the schedule to see what’s coming up, and get all the latest news and videos on current affairs.

Though this station focuses on topical debates and conversations, you can still listen to music (and skip them live), as it’s part of Global’s big station. Take advantage of the Podcasts and Playlists section too. 
 

Sky News Radio

To listen to all of the breaking news stories and journalism from the UK and around the world, Sky News Radio is the station for you. As well as briefing listeners on big events, the presenters of Sky News Radio also detail eyewitness reports, expert analysis, and opinion-based discussions. 

Explore a long list of topics to listen to, including: Politics, UK news, US news, Ocean Rescue, Sport, Science & Technology, Business, Entertainment & Arts, and Offbeat. 

Key features in the app include breaking news notifications so you can be one of the first to find out about major stories, live watching (when online), reading offline, and Dark Mode to change the appearance of the interface.

Though the focus is on the UK, Sky News also lets you read about events happening from all over the world.
 

BBC Radio 5 Live

For more broadcasts and podcasts, BBC’s Radio 5 Live is a good option for those who already have the BBC Sounds App, or just like to stick with one channel. 

Radio 5 Live focuses on presenting discussions and delivering stories, with many hours dedicated to taking calls from listeners and hosting interviews. This is a good station to get involved in, have questions answered, and listen to other people’s opinions. 

As with all of the BBC stations, you can pause and rewind live radio to hear things again or listen to shows you missed, set up auto-play to keep playing your favourite episodes, subscribe to podcasts and other programmes, explore the daily headlines across BBC, and, occasionally, listen to music mixes. 

You’ll also get personalised recommendations for topics of interest, and be able to view an entire schedule to see which shows or discussions are popping up next. 
 

TuneIn Radio

TuneIn Radio is the best all-rounder station, with an equal concentration on music, news, sports, and podcasts. ‘Tune in’ from 197 countries around the world and access one of the largest libraries of live and on-demand content. 

Listen to loads of music genres, hear live sports on and offline (rugby, cricket, football, baseball, basketball - you name it), keep updated on breaking news and the latest updates from around the world, listen to podcasts, and stream 100,000+ AM and FM radio. 

Whilst you can download this app for free, you do have the option of purchasing a premium subscription to access some of the features. 
 

Have a better audio experience

You can listen to the radio out loud if you wish, but for those who listen on their commute or wander around their home a lot whilst audio is playing, you may find these blogs helpful:

Do you currently listen to any of these radio stations, or have you found a new one you’re downloading from this list? Let us know on Twitter, and follow us to stay up-to-date on the newest guides and tips. 


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