Best Radio Apps

If there’s one type of media that shows no signs of slowing down, it’s radio. Almost 50 million adults in the UK still tune in to their favourite stations, not least because radio is now so easily available on our smartphones. 

Last updated: 30th Nov 2020 at 10:51am

But what apps are out there and which are any good? To help you find out, we’ve put together the best radio apps you can download for both iOS and Android. 

The popularity of radio

Rajar found that 48.9 million adults tuned into radio stations each week. That’s 89% of the adult population (15 years of age and above) choosing to digest their morning news by audio, rather than staring at a screen. They also found that the average listener tunes into their station for 20.2 hours per week and 67% listened via a digital platform like an app. 

Find your favourite music with a number of UK radio stations. 

Worldwide - BBC Radio | BBC pick - BBC Radio 2Contemporary - Heart | Trending - Capital FM | Classical - Classic FM | Jazz - Jazz FM | Rock - Planet Rock

BBC Radio

It goes without saying that BBC Radio dominates the market, offering listeners a choice from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, and BBC Radio 6 Music.

With so many BBC-owned radio stations, how do you know which to pick? It depends on the type of music you like to listen to, or the sort of presenting style you enjoy hearing throughout the day. 

Radio station

Type of music

BBC Radio 1

Alternative - electronica, dance, hip hop, indie

BBC Radio 2

Wide selection - classical, mainstream pop, country, folk, jazz, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, blues, brass, and organ

BBC Radio 4

Varies by week, but common selection

BBC Radio 5 Live

Live performances of artists, but mostly documentaries and broadcasts relating to news and sport

BBC Radio 6 Music

Alternative

 

BBC Radio 2

Apple

Android

FREE

BBC Radio 2 predominantly features adult contemporary music, but has a wide range of programmes available for all listeners, specialising in a whole host of genres like folk, country, rock, and jazz. 

Use the app to listen to BBC 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 set up the app to work as an alarm clock, employing the built-in timer to wake you up each morning. 

Read our review of the BBC Sounds app, which allows listeners to access all of the UK BBC stations. 

Heart

Apple

Android

FREE

Heart has been providing listeners with a more pop-centred, contemporary playlist since 1994, though the radio still plays tunes from Heart 80’s. 

With the app, you can listen to Heart radio live, catch up with your favourite shows that you might’ve missed, download to listen offline while commuting, subscribe to your favourites, check the schedule for what’s next, and skip songs on live radio.

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

Other sections on the app include a ‘Podcast’ section to listen to episodes, and a ‘Playlist’ section to encourage exercise. 

Capital FM

Apple

Android

FREE

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

Skip songs live on radio, download and listen offline, catch up on shows you’ve missed, subscribe to shows and have them automatically download each day, get the latest news on artists and music being released, and explore the other Global stations available to listen to on the app.

Like Heart, Capital FM also has a ‘Podcasts’ and ‘Playlists’ section. 

Classic FM

Apple

Android

FREE

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

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

Skip songs on live radio, have access to the latest news and music in the classical industry, choose the ‘Playlists’ tab for exercise or relaxing music, and the ‘Podcasts’ to listen to some like-minded discussions. 

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

Jazz FM

Apple

Android

FREE

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

If you miss something, you have 7 days to listen with the Catch Up feature. You can also build up a queue of shows to listen to later. 

The app has a search feature where you can easily find your favourite shows and podcasts, or browse through the list of recommendations based on your interests and Jazz FM’s most popular plays. 

You can also enter competitions or watch live music sessions and interviews directly on the app.

Planet Rock

Apple

Android

FREE

For fans of rock music, Planet Rock is the best app for you. From classic rock to punk to metal, Planet Rock 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 use the recommendations list to add your next new songs. 

Get a better audio experience 

Check out our list of the best headphones and the best phones to play music on so you can listen to the audio in quality HD. 

Don’t just stop at radio apps. Learn about the best music streaming platforms and podcast apps on the market today.

Do you currently listen to any of these radio stations? Let us know on Twitter

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