For months, I have been hearing radio commercials about an app called radioPup. One of our local Top 40 stations continues to promote it on the air as a way for people to listen to live radio through their mobile devices. This is not a novel idea — iTunes has had streaming radio for years — but, I finally gave in to the propaganda and decided to give it a try this past Friday. What was the motivation, you ask? Oh, a severe storm outbreak that tore through the midwest last week.

In the midst of the stormy weather, I found myself glued to my Twitter feed while I was at work. I have to admit that while it was informative and kept me up-to-date with warnings, I was missing out on crucial information that I would normally see on the local news stations. Because I was at work, was unable to obtain the local weather man on the tele, however, I was able to hear him on the radio. Our local news media will simulcast their news on our local radio stations when there is inclement weather. With this knowledge, I decided to download radioPup. When I found that it did not carry the local stations I wanted to listen to, I looked through the app store to find out streaming radio apps. I came across TuneIn Radio.

TuneIn Radio offers a search option for users to locate their favorite stations. I quickly discovered that the stations within a particular radio group were all available. Similar to iTunes, TuneIn Radio also allows users to set preset stations and select a preset tune when a favorite song comes on the radio. Because the app is simply streaming live radio, there are commercial breaks per the station’s schedule, but if you have paused the station for a short while, you can then skip ahead to the live radio similar to the way a DVR works.

Another VERY useful feature for those using the app on their phone is the data usage monitor. Under the settings screen, there is a data usage amount displayed for both Wi-Fi and Cellular connections. This is particularly useful for those who must monitor their data usage carefully so they do not end up paying a large phone bill. TuneIn Radio also has a social networking feature – the ability to link your TuneIn experience with Facebook, etc.

TuneIn Radio is available on iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Palm and Samsung Bada. This app is free, but it is ad supported. In my opinion, the add support isn’t that big of a deal since you are using this app to listen to the radio, not stare at the screen. There is also a TuneIn Radio Pro, which offers the same service as the free version, but allows you to record what you are listening to. The Pro version is currently only available for iPhone/iPad, Android and Blackberry.