The internet radio app broadcasts have a new look, improved search, Shazam integration and more

Version 3 of broadcastsSteve Troughton-Smith’s internet radio app and a choice recommended by Club MacStories, is out with an updated design, improved search, Shazam integration, and a URL scheme that makes it easier to share stations. Together, the changes look great and make listening to internet radio with the app easier and better than ever.

The app’s main view now features a tab bar on iPhone and a sidebar on iPad and Mac. The result is a more modern look that’s further enhanced by a number of new ways to add station graphics. Too few internet radio stations have good graphics by default, so it’s great to now have so many ways to add your own. Broadcast offers:

  • Choose a photo from your photo library
  • Choosing a file from the file system
  • Add text or emoji on a colored background
  • Using a radio glyph from the SF Symbols catalog on a colored background

The Now Playing screen has also been updated, featuring larger and bolder artwork with a blurred background effect that echoes the colors of the station artwork. From the Now Playing screen, you can play and pause playback, adjust volume, set a sleep timer, AirPlay to another device, review the play history of the station you’re listening to, access those songs or the song currently playing playback in Apple Music and turn on the Broadcasts Shazam feature, which I’ll cover below.

With thousands of stations available worldwide, another great enhancement to broadcasting is the seek operation. You can browse stations manually by country, search for a country or search for stations within a country. For example, if you choose Ireland and then search for “Alternative,” you immediately narrow the number of results from 130 to seven, making it much easier to find a genre you like than scrolling through a long list of stations.

Even more metadata from broadcasts is now supported, including the name of the currently playing song and its artwork, if available. Like station graphics, however, few Internet radio stations I’ve tested support song graphics. Broadcasts has a fix for that too, which is a new beta feature that incorporates the Shazam functionality into the iPhone and iPad versions of the app. In my tests, the feature works well, putting cover art and song information into the Now Playing UI, which makes the experience much more like listening to Apple Music, Spotify, or another music streaming service than at first. The experimental feature can be used even if you’re using another source to play your music, acting as a Now Playing UI for any music playing around you.

Broadcasts has a new setting that will automatically resume playing the next time you open the app, immediately broadcasting the last station you were listening to. The setting is off by default, but can be set to work every time you start broadcasts or simply when you connect the app with CarPlay.

Another useful feature is adding a URL scheme to the format broadcasts://add?name=Name&address=Address&artworkAddress=ArtworkAddress. Add parameters for a station name, its URL, and a URL for station graphics, and anyone with broadcasts will be able to quickly add the station to their library. It’s a great way to send your favorite station to a friend, set up automations in Shortcuts, or link your favorite stations across the web. For example, here’s a link I created for WXYC, the station of the University of North Carolina.

I don’t listen to internet radio often, but I love it for live broadcasts of podcasts and when I don’t have the energy to pick some music myself. With Broadcast’s new search feature, I’ve grown my station collection with little effort, and I’ve really enjoyed quickly revving stations while connected to CarPlay, which has already led me to using the app more. Broadcasts was already an app we have recommended to Club MacStories members last year, and it’s only gotten better with this release.

Broadcasts is available on the App Store as a universal purchase which syncs between iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. The app is free to download and tried out with a fixed set of stations. A one-time in-app purchase of $4.99 unlocks the ability to add your stations to the app’s library.