iTunes Internet Radio

The world in your ears
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The Independent Culture

For all the BBC's travails, it's still fair to say that any creatures from space landing in the middle of Piccadilly Circus and wanting a crash course on the British psyche could do worse than spend a few days listening to Radio 4. But in the absence of a licence-gorged broadcasting behemoth in the United States, there'd be no equivalent for an alien wanting the American low-down.

He or she could always log on to iTunes' internet radio facility, however. There are 3,863 stations listed by type, most of which are based in the US. Some of those stations appear in more than one category, but that's still well over 3,000. There are 26 categories, mostly varieties of music, but with large "Talk/Spoken Word" and "Public" sections.

There are fewer religious talk stations than you'd imagine, but loads of Christian rock. Liberadio – "Unbuckling the Buckle of the Bible Belt" – was sadly available only to "preferred members".

A personal favourite on a late-night trawl was The World of Horses. "The No 1 killer of horses, besides stupid people, is lightning," warns B J Rickard – an oracle, it seems, on all matters equine. The station has been responsible for the return of more than 2,500 stolen horses and 1,500 stolen boxes. Now that's what I call public service broadcasting.