Example of a cool synchronous site: https://radio.garden/
Radio Garden is a website developed by Amsterdam based Studio Moniker and Studio Puckey. This website was done with the research help of the Transnational Radio Encounters.
The website displays a 3d model of Earth with cities represented as points. A list of radio shows in that city appears when you click on that city. From that list you can select a live radio channel to tune into.
This site is wonderful in that it allows us to listen to sounds that are both nostalgic and foreign. When I first used Radio Gardens, I went straight to the KISS FM, the radio channel I grew up listening to in Los Angeles. It sounded just like I remembered- a radio host speaks bombastically after a top 40’s hip hop song plays. Then after this auditory trip down memory lane, I decided to see what I would hear if I went to Syria or Iran. The music was sung in a different language- Farsi for Iran and Arabic for Syria. As I am listening, I am wondering: do I feel closer to this country because I am listening to their music? Do I feel more connected? Or do I feel more distant because I can’t understand what the singer is saying? I think a bit of both, but ultimately I think I feel more in touch? It’s a nice thought to think that people in different time-zones, cultures and continents are listening to what I’m listening to at the same time.
More questions that come up for me when experiencing this site: are the main listeners of radio now, both in US and outside? Have other countries radio membership dwindled since the rise of iPods and smart phones? How is this website even able to access the radio channels and shows of dictatorship countries, when google maps can’t even show certain sensitive areas? Is it easier to access these databases than I think? If I wanted to access other countries radio channels, cameras, and other media…how would I do that? Does the emotional nature of music lend itself well to live web as a medium (although I can’t understand the song, I can certainly feel the emotion behind it)?
Update: I did some digging and found out that the radio channels in Iran are not actually the radio channels being played in that country. I asked someone from Iran if the radio channel on the website was actually the music he would listen to. His response was that the music was from a popular Iranian singer that the government wouldn’t have allowed. Most likely the radio channels displayed on the website for Iran and other dictatorship countries came from somewhere outside of that country. Somehow this loses a little bit of the “live web” magic for me. However, this theory does make sense with my speculations regarding how Radio.garden is able to bypass the security of these specific countries.