Ever since the first commercial station–Pittsburgh’s KDKA–began broadcasting on November 2, 1920, radio has functioned as a powerful cross-pollinating medium, capable of bringing new culture and ideas across even the most impenetrable borders. And in the internet age, a radio signal can reach clear to the opposite side of the Earth, if only you know where to look.
Created by Amsterdam’s Studio Puckey and Moniker, Radio Garden is a gorgeous, Google Earth-style browser for the world’s radio stations. No matter where a station is–from Reyjkavik’s Kiss FM to Radio Frïa FM in Ushuaia, Argentina, which might be the only station you can listen to with a transistor radio in Antarctica–Radio Garden makes it easy for you to tune in. All you do is rotate the 3D globe and then click on the station you want to listen to.
First and foremost, the site is a fascinating way to be a fly on the wall in cities around the world, whether you tune into some obscure station in the middle of nowhere or some major station in an urban hub. For example, in Nome, Alaska, KICY is located so close to Russia that it’s non-stop broadcast of proselytizing Christian pop music almost seems like it is aimed straight across the Bering Strait. Similarly, as I write this, WBRT in Bardstown, Kentucky, has some guy shredding on the fiddle; Radio ZP 30 seems to be playing Paraguayan Pop 20; and two Bangladeshi gentleman are shouting at each on Radio Shongi.
Outside of just a great way to listen to the world’s radio stations, though, Radio Garden has a broader purpose: it was commissioned by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision as a way to show the way radio crosses borders. Consequently, there are no geopolitical demarcations on the Radio Garden’s globe–just tens of thousands of glowing lights scattered around the world, showing everywhere the planet’s “ON AIR” signs are lighting up.
It’s true what they say. You just can’t stop the signal. Check out Radio Garden here.