It used to be a lot easier to talk about radio. There was only one kind – the analog kind that was transmitted over the airwaves by stations on the ground (1). In the mid-1990s, a new kind appeared, digital radio stations on the Internet. This meant that a person talking about radio had to distinguish between over-the-air radio and online radio (2).

Then in 2001, a satellite was launched that delivered high-quality digital radio to compatible radio receivers. A person now had to distinguish among earth-bound, over-the-air radio (labeled terrestrial radio), digital online radio and digital satellite radio (3).

Then, to make things even more difficult, terrestrial stations started broadcasting high-quality digital radio. Now a person had to distinguish among terrestrial analog radio, terrestrial HD radio, satellite radio and online radio (4).

If that wasn’t complicated enough, terrestrial stations started digital broadcasting on the Internet. Now a person had to distinguish among: analog radio, digital terrestrial HD radio, terrestrial radio station online, satellite radio, and stations that were only on the Internet with no terrestrial counterpart (labeled online-only station) (5).

Source: Dominick, J. R. (2011). The Dynamics of Mass Communication, Media in Transition (Edition 11th). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. epicrantradio
    Jun 02, 2012 @ 15:25:02

    Although radio has gotten alot more complicate, I like that there are a multitude of platforms to find different radio outlets on. In the past year I’ve found many different online radio platforms I like and created my own at


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