How to Build your own Radio Station with iTunes

I like NPR. What can I say, I’m liberal, upper middle class and can appreciate dry, nasally voices. But I’m not exactly a big jazz fan, so I get annoyed that just about every NPR station in the country doubles as the local jazz station. If you tune in at 8:15am you’ll hear the soothing sounds of anti-Bush news. But stop back in around noon and its all trumpets and deep throated singers.

So I decided to use iTunes to build my own radio station. Here’s how I did it.

  1. Open up iTunes and click on the store icon. Search through the podcasts to find ones that interest you. I subscribed to a bunch of short NPR news updates and some other shorts by them, as well as various Mac, Wired, and other podcasts I found interesting. I tried to keep them all under 10 minutes to keep with the actual radio station vibe.
  2. I created a new Smart Playlist (File » New Smart Playlist) and added three rules: Podcast is true, Playcount is less than 1 and Date Added is in the last 10 days.
  3. For some reason iTunes, by default, skips podcasts when you set it to shuffle. I guess this makes sense for when you just want to throw on a quick party mix, but it ruins my radio station idea. Luckily, there’s a fix. You need to select all of the files in the Smart Playlist, right click and Get Info on them all. At the bottom of the dialog box that opens you can set the Skip When Shuffling option to No and click Ok. (Note: you’ll need to do this every time the podcast updates, so once a day or so.)
  4. Set the playlist to shuffle and press play. You’ve got random clips from the last few days playing together just like a talk radio station.

Now, anytime I want to turn on the radio I’m guaranteed a jazz free experience!

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