How to listen to UK radio stations abroad

The international nature of world travel means that sometimes people have to spend time in other countries, for example, for work.

While there are many benefits to this – such as immersion to another culture or being able to see the sights (or even just to take in some sun!) – there are also some drawbacks. One of these is that UK radio isn’t always available to you when you want it.

For many, listening to the radio station of their choice is an integral part of their morning routine, while others enjoy winding down in the evening or at the weekend listening to their favourite programme or broadcast. So, how can you listen to UK radio abroad?

The BBC has a commitment to being a global leader in its communication platforms, and so enabling those who live overseas to listen to the BBC version of their radio via the iPlayer.

Alternatively, if this doesn’t work, the BBC Sounds app should work for you instead.

However, while BBC radio works overseas, unfortunately, TV programming doesn’t always do the same. Some people have bypassed this – to watch the Premier League in America for example – with a VPN (a virtual private network). The best VPN for UK use will help you get access to all the matches, episodes of your favourite show, or even just the BBC News. The VPNs also work the other way around and allow people in the UK to watch content that may be blocked to them, i.e. the site hasn’t updated its GDPR policy, and so has just blanket blocked UK residents.

For many radio services, the Tune In app lets you listen to UK radio stations, as well as those from around the world. As a sort of Netflix for radio, the platform aims to keep the art form of radio alive by allowing anyone who wants to listen to it to be able to do so. The programming ranges from sport to music to podcasts and news.

However, there is evidence that some locations don’t allow certain radio stations to be played, such as Bauer Radio’s independent national radio operator Absolute Radio. The route around this could be to use a VPN with Tune In. Due to the nature of the platform, smaller radio stations might not be accessible, so if you’re wanting to listen to something more local, it might be suitable for you.

Given the nature of how radio waves work, some places outside the UK are able to access the traditional BBC World Service through shortwave radio. While the UK may have grown to digital methods of radio listening, as many other countries around the world, there are still many parts of the that rely on shortwave radio as the waves can travel incredibly big distances.

People in Africa and the Middle East can access BBC programming through their shortwave radios without having to rely on digital connections. This might be suitable for those who may need to go to less populated areas where there is a limited internet connection. The service provider maintains a comprehensive list of their shortwave radio frequencies.

The radio is such an important part of many people’s lives, so being able to access it abroad – in this day and age of technology – shouldn’t be too difficult. There is a range of methods that allow people to listen to what they want, from the BBC’s comprehensive service to VPNs and digital radio platforms.

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