Musical Public Radio Programs and Channels

The new Allegro! Web site

The original Allegro! Web site is still visible, but I am no longer updating it. I have replaced that site with a new site that has a slightly different focus. I'll explain here why I did that.

The origins of Allegro!

I created the original Allegro! Web site in about the year 2000 for my own use. Earlier in my life, I had listened to several public radio programs regularly, but I then moved to a city from which I could not hear them on my FM radio. Radio stations were then just introducing streaming audio, so I could again hear those programs by listening to stations elsewhere in the United States. I tracked down when my favorite programs were broadcast and made a list of the stations' Web sites and the broadcast times on their online schedules, converting the times into my own time zone.

It then occurred to me that others might want to do the same thing. In fact, I thought, there are Americans living all over the world who might like to listen to their own favorite programs as broadcast by American radio stations. For them, doing the necessary time zone conversions could be daunting. (Even today, broadcast services that offer streaming audio seem to imagine that all their listeners are local; very few disclose on their broadcast schedules or anywhere on their Web sites which time zones they are in.) So I expanded the site and added some automation, listing many more programs and broadcast services, including direct links to the audio streams, and allowing broadcast times to be converted into any time zone.

Some of the radio programs' producers had their own Web sites and were making current and even archived programs available to stream from those sites. I provided links to those sites. In my mind, though, I biased Allegro! toward the radio stations. Many of the radio stations I listed were small, community stations, but almost all were public stations and reliant on listener support. If I was confronted by a decision about how to orient my site, I leaned toward directing users to the radio stations to give them a chance to capture more listeners.


At that point Allegro! had become very useful but also very time-consuming to maintain. Radio stations constantly adjust their broadcast schedules. New audio stream formats were introduced that were more difficult to link to. The twice-annual shift between Standard and Daylight Saving Time had to be accommodated. And some programs, like the Metropolitan Opera, are seasonal.

Staying on top of the radio stations' schedule changes was the most troublesome. I created routines to capture schedules from the station Web sites and to analyze them for changes that affected Allegro!. But new schedule formats were introduced frequently. Finally, in 2015, most stations gravitated toward a radio-schedule format that I had great difficulty in "parsing". This meant reverting to the early days of Allegro!; again I had to look at each radio station's online schedule manually, hour by hour, day by day, and compare the schedule to my current database. It could take five to ten minutes to evaluate each schedule even if no changes had occurred.

Meanwhile, the cost of storing files "in the cloud" has plummeted. That means the producer of a radio program can inexpensively allow anyone to listen to the program's current episode on demand from the program's Web site, making it less important to locate a radio station somewhere that is transmitting that program. Large archive files can now be stored on line at low cost as well, so listeners can also listen to older episodes, again at a time of their own choosing.

The combination of those two developments — difficulty in keeping the Allegro! database up to date and the convenience of bypassing the radio stations in favor of streams directly from the programs — has meant that the value to its users of the original Allegro! format has greatly decreased.

The road ahead

Therefore, in late 2016 I decided to remove information about the radio stations' schedules from Allegro!. I have retained a list of music programs, with links to their own Web sites, allowing users to listen to those audio streams (where available). I have retained a list of useful broadcast services (radio stations or station networks) with links to their sites. I have added a list of "channels", mostly "always on" music services, each with its own flavor.

I thank Allegro!'s listeners and supporters. I hope that you will get value out of Allegro!'s current format.

John Rabold
November 2016
November 2016