Radio Is Made for Smart Working

The new radio is that of ‘non-music’: between white noise, asrm and ‘sonorous paintings’, it is tailor-made for smartworking
Radio, as we know, is the most courted and penetrating media, with a share of daily contacts higher than those of television and the internet. Queen of the cockpits and homes – 50% of the listeners come from car radios, while the other two main devices are the actual receiver (23%) and the television set (7%) – the radio not only wins, but changes skin on the web, even if cell phones and the PC / tablet, from where you can browse the ocean of podcasts and streams or listen directly to FM, make up just 6% together.

While forecasts are more than optimistic on the market of smart speakers, devices to which you can ask to find a recipe while listening to something nice and about the possibilities of 5G, the latest generation digital band, in the report Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2019 Deloitte also gives a flattering chapter to the good old radio. Deloitte considers AM / FM broadcast in ether, both analog and digital, to be “radio”; the satellite radio (don’t worry, it’s the one that goes through the TV tuner) and the internet transmission of the AM / FM stations.

But is the radio really only the one that comes through a “station”, with a definite schedule? If we look at the offer available on the web, it really seems not. The net is full of everything, where often a too rigid idea of ​​something immediately tends to blend into something else. This is the case of the “channels” where more or less everything is transmitted, with reduced or absent possibility to intervene on the contents, just like tuning in to a normal radio station. They know how to stay in the background for those who can listen to work, but they can also form a uniform sound environment, without the need to pay rigorous attention, for those who instead need to stay focused.

Work that goes by you

Perfect to be listened to while doing something else on the computer, maybe stuck in the grid of a spreadsheet or setting up a presentation, these “radios” are candidates to become the background of life not only of smart workers, but also of young people increasingly distant from television, given the 50% drop in attendance in front of the “small screen” detected in the youngest band for six years now in different countries. In the USA, according to the Deloitte report, among those who listen to the radio working it is indeed the youngest age group (18-24) to weigh more, with a dry 30%, and half of all Americans including between the ages of 25 and 75, however, he mainly listens to it at home.

Even if the targetability of the radio user is still tied to the basic demographic categories, it can therefore be imagined that many of the so-called agile workers – who most of the time work from home or in any case not in the company – listen to a lot of radio.

The number of those in Italy who want and can make their daily life flexible varies between 250,000 and 480,000 people. The still unstable figure simply says that the survey tools chase the news, but all are meanwhile agreed that this is the future of employment, if it is true that by 2022 65% of the European workforce will end up being composed of agile workers.

Why listen to something while working? According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research in the field of business administration, ambient noise behaves like a poison: taken in large doses it “kills”, while at doses so to speak homeopathic positively influences creativity. In a nutshell, a background of moderate volume audio content can make the workflow intermittent – the same thing happens maybe even in the office, where there is no music or other – but it significantly improves creative processes.

Whether or not you are agile workers, let’s try then to fly over the most interesting and extravagant web sources of audio content, radio or not, of this noisy planet.


noise White noise is a particular type of noise characterized by the absence of periodicity over time and by a constant amplitude. Chosen by the famous American writer Don DeLillo as the title of one of his best novels, for the “panasonic score” with which the media drown us every day, it means something compact and extended, like a rug.

On Noisli you can for example activate – even overlapping the different levels – an entire library of white noise, from the most obtuse audio rustles to the noise of water (in different varieties), as well as a forest environment, the fire, night noises, trains in the distance and much more. “It is the best accompaniment to productivity throughout the day,” reads the web page. “It helps you to concentrate while you work, to relieve anxiety or simply relax while reading or before going to bed.” Noisli even has a writing environment for those who work, an activation and deactivation timer, and of course , a platform to share your settings with colleagues and friends.

Those who want something less structured can use Rainy Cafe (only rain and bar environment, also overlapping here), or even Rainy Mood, who trusts only in rain but gives access to a dedicated app. myNoise (background noises and interactive soundscapes), on the other hand, is a dizzying anthology of every type of sound, also intended to “obscure the noises you don’t want to hear: talkative colleagues, your tinnitus, or even your inner voice when not you can shut her up! ”reads the homepage. In essence, the noises generated by these web pages are also an alternative to the widespread noise canceling headphones.

Of the different types of ambient noises are also obviously filled Spotify and YouTube playlists, but online players have better interactivity.


A particular niche of “noise” is that of the ASRM, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which can be translated with an autonomous sensory meridian response, where the meridian in question is not the geographical one, but the path of vital energy in our body, according to oriental medicine .

ASRM content is everywhere, for example on YouTube – try to believe. They are entire audiovisual libraries, where in the absence of speech the listener is subjected to every kind of sound stimulus that can activate pleasant sensations, such as the sound of a caress on the skin, the noise of the brush in a woman’s hair, sighs, contact with surfaces of all kinds, the preparation and even chewing of foods.

Read also: Sounds and videos to relax or fall asleep make millions of clicks. What is the Asmr, ‘the cerebral orgasm’

The sensations aroused by the ASRM sounds are carefully produced by equipment that reproduce aural listening, arousing pleasant emotional sensations, physical or both.

The radio on the web

The apps (also from desktop) for streaming listening of radio stations are very widespread, such as TuneIn, an endless list of stations and podcast sources – the downloadable download files – divided by location and topic .

There are also sites like (a bit like saying: you are listening …) where radio content is found, but not broadcast, such as the live broadcast of police police from all over the United States and links to live coverage from other agencies – there is also the embedded YouTube file with an hour and a half of the noise of the Star Trek SS Enterprise’s engine, you were trekkies.

But there are apps – and / or related websites – that offer a different experience than simply choosing a schedule from a list. This is the case of Radio Garden (the radio garden), which shows the three-dimensional image of our planet in an interactive mode, where each station is represented on the surface – composed of satellite photos – with a green dot. The Earth can be rotated and zoomed; by collimating the viewfinder with the points, the listening is activated. Unlike the other apps, Radio Garden allows you to view the frequency and location of the broadcasters directly on the globe, giving the possibility to connect to websites for further information.

“From the beginning, radio signals have crossed borders. Listeners and broadcasters have imagined both connecting with the most distant cultures and reconnecting to people thousands of miles away from home, “reads the website of Radio Garden. Commissioned in 2016 by the Dutch Institute of Sound and Vision during an edition of Transnational Radio Encounters, with 52 million web views and over a million downloads of the app, Radio Garden has been transformed into a company of one of the founders, with new product features, but retaining the same simplicity that has always distinguished it.

The radio from the web

The apps that offer streaming radio stations are very popular; less well known, however, are web pages that offer a real radio experience. The most interesting is WebSDR, managed by the amateur radio club of the University of Twente in the Netherlands. In practice, whoever connects – even many users at the same time, thanks to the particular software – can remotely pilot a real self-built receiver at the Dutch university’s faculty of electronic and computer engineering and explore shortwave as a “normal” radio .

Until the eighties, DXing (“surfing” on intercontinental radio frequencies, shortwaves) was a widespread hobby, as were multi-band devices in homes, which are less frequent today but are highly sought after by collectors. Television before, the internet then, have almost extinguished that sophisticated pleasure of searching in the ether for thousands of miles away, but the radio has taken revenge on both. With web-controlled radio receivers like the Dutch WebSDR, anyone can have access to otherwise expensive and unapproachable technology.

Shirley & Spinoza

We have seen how the internet gives access to the entire universe of radios: but is there a “universal” radio, which somehow contains them all, at least metaphorically? Can radio be an art form? In these terms, it is difficult for this to succeed in the ether: too much bureaucracy, laws, costs. Better on the web, where (almost) everything can be done at home. Beloved by more and more web explorers and creatives of all kinds, Shirley & Spinoza Radio is a candidate to be the most venerated, exclusive and elusive broadcaster of all time.

It exists only on the web, and “transmits” from Dali, a remote location in Chinese Yunnan, although The Guardian claimed to be in the tormented and equally remote Xinjiang, the scene of Uyghur persecutions, precisely in Urümqi. The name itself is an intellectual citation, combining that of the most famous child actress of all time, Shirley Temple, with the severe seventeenth-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza.

Similar to the famous Blob by Rai3 in terms of editing, but without drawing on the schedules of others, Shirley & Spinoza essentially transmits music (of all genres and origins, with an inclination to refinement rather than to the mainstream) interspersed with sounds more diverse, repertoire material and sound extracts from sources of all kinds. The result is always pleasant, and lends itself to being the background or to be the protagonist of a more active listening. It is a kind of museum made up of sound pictures, where one can ideally pause from time to time on some piece or switch indifferently from one room to another.

The feeling is that it is the work of a single independent artist, whose identity is actually known, Fausto Caceres, who seems to have started his radio activity on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, at the end of the nineties. The speaker – remote operator, as he claims to call himself – speaks English with an American accent, and intervenes from time to time to break the flow with a few sentences addressed to listeners.

The playlist is always present on the site, it is possible to leave comments and messages, which can also be found from time to time replies aggregated by Caceres. Those of the listeners are often Dadaist messages such as programming, thanks for having been the background to intense periods of work or simple “thanks for existing”. Shirley & Spinoza has not even a very small audience – the words “A whopping million folks listening right now. Hooray! ”, And the social networks and the network reveal it.

In short, whether or not you have the possibility of activating a sound environment as you please, with the ease and difficulty of agile or leisure work, both at home and in mobile mode, the new forms of radio and sound content are worthy of to be known, and lived.


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