• radio garden map

    A screenshot of the Radio Garden map, which lets users listen live to radio stations around the world. (Map data: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographic, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, AeroGRID, IGN, and the GIS User Community)

Since it began broadcasting in 1920, commercial radio has delivered news and entertainment to the masses. And despite what a certain 80s synthpop song would have you believe, radio is still alive and kicking, not to mention an enduring driver of community culture. An interactive web app called Radio Garden aims to use the medium to connect people on a global scale. 

The site lets users listen in on local stations around the world as they broadcast live. From 102.5 Jam FM in Yekaterinburg, Russia, to Oasis 96.5 FM in Tunis, Tunisia, the stations offer a peek at ways of life very different than our own, yet reveal similarities and common themes.  

"By bringing distant voices close, radio connects people and places. Radio Garden allows listeners to explore processes of broadcasting and hearing identities across the entire globe. From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders," the site says. 

Radio Garden also has a history section where you can listen to old clips that show how nations have used radio as a powerful tool for self-definition and nationalization, but also to declare who they are to neighbouring countries and engage cross-border conversation. The jingles section is a "worldwide crash course in station identification," while the stories section includes personal reflections on radio.