This app brings the whole world of radio right at your fingertips – literally!
Upon opening Radio Garden, you might think you’re looking at an ordinary graphic of planet Earth. Now, try zooming in on the 3D image, and you’ll realize that the sea green color splashed across the globe are actually tiny dots, each representing a radio station in different parts of the world.
With over 40,000 dots – or “seeds”, as the creators of Radio Garden call them – you’ll find yourself feeling a little like Hayden Christensen’s character in the movie “Jumper”, as you jump from one dot to another and get transported across continents through what’s being played by their broadcasts in real time with very minimal to no buffer.
The Amsterdam-based app was originally an exhibition project commissioned by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in the context of their research on Transitional Radio Encounters. It was created, designed, and developed by Studio Puckey and Moniker.
In 2017, Moniker transferred Radio Garden to Studio Puckey and in 2018, it was launched as a mobile app for both iOS and Android platforms, and is available for free download on Google Play and Apple App Store.
Aside from the serendipitous experience it offers, Radio Garden also allows users to browse through its curated playlists, search directly for a place they want to tune in to instead of plotting it on the globe, and even submit a radio station they would like to be added to the garden.
The app has had over 10M downloads on Google Play with a rating of 4.9 stars. Majority of its users are fascinated by its concept and have given positive feedback.
One review said: “It has made exploring music fun again. I truly feel like a kid in a candy store just sampling an endless variety of music genres and styles from across the planet”. The user also appreciated how the app lets users think and select for themselves what they want to discover or listen to, instead of relying on algorithms.
The app lets you feel a sort of sense of belonging to different communities as you get to picture what’s going on in their timezones through what’s playing on their radios: some upbeat Indipop blasting as workers flock the trains in Delhi, some breaking news in the background as an ambitious intern works on her phone while in a cab in New York City, or some country music softly playing as elderly couples enjoy laughter and a sumptuous dinner in a cozy cabin in New Zealand. For some however, Radio Garden has served as a way to connect them home.
“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. Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away – or using local community radio to make and enrich new homes,” Radio Garden states.