Radio Listening Software

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There are a number of Radio devices, in particular those TV tuner devices which also contain a radio receiver/tuner, for which V4L directly supports. The following list of software applications allow one to control a radio tuner.

Radio Applications

Gnomeradio and kradio, the most fully featured applications, are not yet available in all distributions and need to be compiled first. Some of the older applications are mature and readily available, but no longer actively developed.

Also See: For devices capable of receiving RDS information, see the associated userspace applications.

User experiences

If you're a user, post your installation and user experiences here!


The package contains two binaries, fm and fmscan. To pick up all stations even with very weak reception, I issued,

$ fmscan -d /dev/radio2 fmscan -d /dev/radio3 -t 18 -i 0.1
Scanning range: 87.9 - 107.9 MHz (0.2 MHz increments)...

Nice and clean. I added an antenna, but still got weak reception. This is very useful for testing the radio and finding the stations; does it support directing the sound to a file? I try various combinations and end up with this to get 100% volume:

$ fm -d /dev/radio3 89.9 65535 
Radio tuned to 89.88 MHz at 100.00% volume

Weird. I don't see a way to record; do I need to use sox? I don't know if I'm getting any sound, as I don't have speakers on this box.

Sox is what gnomeradio uses to record and it thankfully sends commands it uses to standard out.

for wav file:

sox -c2 -w -r32000 -tossdsp /dev/audio -r 44100 -c 2 -w -twav /tmp/foo.wav

for mp3 or ogg:

sox -c2 -w -r32000 -tossdsp /dev/audio -r 44100 -c 2 -w -twav /tmp/fm_fifo &


lame -S -h -b 128 /tmp/fm_fifo /tmp/foo.mp3


oggenc -Q -b 128 -o /tmp/foo.ogg /tmp/fm_fifo


Clearly a more sophisticated application. There's only a debian package for i386, so I'll need to build from the tarball. Since I'm mainly interested in remote recording, I'll try fmtools and radio first.


I tried gradio on Debian amd64, as it's available; it's very basic. If you don't have the card on /dev/radio, start with

gradio -d /dev/radio2

No recording capability, stable gui, minimal functionality -- tuner and volume. I had to hand-edit the .gradiorc configuration file to get station presets; I may have missed some way of doing this through the gui.


You can do a lot of things with MPlayer. As example, I use this syntax for radio listening:

mplayer -rawaudio rate=48000 radio://2/capture -radio adevice=hw=2:arate=48000:channels=93.8-Radio_Zones,94.7-SSR_1

Note that this command will work even without audio cable between the output of the radio card and a line input of the audio card.

This will start mplayer with sample rate = 48 kHz (the same than the one the sound card is using give me the best result), listening to the second station onto the list, the tuner is the third sound card (ALSA device hw:2). For more examples and syntax: MPlayer radio tips.

You can add as many stations than wanted and use LIRC to control MPLayer.

I am running JACK all the time. I added


into ~.mplayer/config (for MPlayer) and mplayerplug-in.conf (for Firefox mplayerplug-in). For recording, I can use any JACK aware recording application.

I made a XDialog wrapper for radio listening using MPlayer and v4l2-ctl. I found it so good than I just made it public under the name XDRadio. You will have to make a list of your stations during the installation (very easy to do). After, it is just to run it and enjoy the radio.


The radio package has a single binary, radio. The man page says it looks for the kradio configuration file ~/.kde/share/config/kradiorc. Failing that, radio tries ~/.radio. I issue,

radio -c /dev/radio3

and get a blue and red curses screen, very cool. Arrow keys increase and decrease frequency in 0.05 intervals. I'm clearly not picking up any signal to speak of. I figure I have a lower-level issue with the tuner.