5 Best Radio Alternatives To Ease Your Winter Commute

5 Radio-Free Ways To Improve Your Driving Experience This Winter.

By Bobby Roshdi Wheels.ca

Jan 30, 2015 4 min. read

Article was updated 8 years ago

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Driving during the winter - especially a Canadian winter - can be difficult, dangerous but more importantly, long & boring. With decreased visibility & traction, increased snow & frozen roads, your drive home can be as long as any of the new Hobbit films. So instead of listening to the radio for what seems like 5 hours, here are some other options to keep your attention so you won’t develop road rage.

1 - Songza

Songza is a free music streaming service; as long as you have Internet access, a phone, laptop or tablet, you can download Songza. And it’s free. If you’re in a car, all you have to do is turn on your phone’s Bluetooth (or connect your auxiliary cable) and turn up your speakers.  Songza also has hundreds of curated playlists made by music experts, including 90s One-Hit Wonders, Working (No Lyrics- Ex. Ambient, Mellow jazz), Salsa (of all varieties) and much, much more.
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So instead of listening to the same news update or Katy Perry song over and over again, download Songza and listen to whatever playlist fits your mood. Or listen to something you would never listen to, like the 90s Neon Bikini Party playlist.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find a genre or artist that you’ll love.

Internet Radio: Songza
Image from Songza.com

2 – Spotify

Or try out one of Songza’s competitors, Spotify, a commercial music streaming service. Spotify provides music from many of today’s big record labels, including but not limited to: Sony, EMI, and Universal. If you’re on your mobile device, computer or tablet you can listen to curated playlists, artists and on shuffle mode. Just be sure to set your playlist before you hit the road so you’re not distracted by your phone when you should be paying attention to the road.

Anyone can subscribe to the free version or premium version of Spotify. With a free subscription, you can hear millions of songs with the occasional interruption of advertising . For $9.99 a month, you can play any song, anywhere, any time with no ad interruptions or commitments.

As long as you’ve got Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable, you can sync up your device to your vehicle. The beauty of music streaming apps, in comparison to the radio, is that you can choose the type of music you want.

Internet Radio: Spotify
Image from Spotify.com

3 –SiriusXM Canada

SiriusXM Canada is a satellite & Internet radio service that provides commercial free music from every genre, exclusive shows, content, comedy, sport play-by-plays and much, much more. According to their website, you can get access to 120 channels for $15.99/month on your radio or you can select a more premium package for a heftier price.
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The more expensive packages provide additional programming, premium channels and the ability to listen to SiriusXm from your car radio, computer, smartphone or tablet. If you’re constantly commuting, especially for long stretches, this might be the option for you.

To listen to SiriusXm content, you’ll need a compatible radio: most new car radios are equipped for it but older models are not. Consult the Sirius’ FAQ page for more information.

Internet Radio: Sirius
Image from SiriusXM.ca

4 –Podcasts

Podcasts are digital audio files anyone can download onto a computer, phone or basically any digital device. Podcasts are so popular that everyone you know and their cat probably has one.

Some of the biggest organizations, celebrities and sports teams have podcasts. This includes TED Radio Hour, WTF with Marc Maron (one of my personal favorites) and The Joe Rogan Experience. You can find a list of the most popular podcasts here.

Podcasts are usually episodic and you can subscribe in order to always be up to date with the new releases. Even better, they are free. Like the playlists offered by Spotify and Songza, there are podcasts from each and every single category you can think of: sports, comedy, movies, art of charm, business and more. More importantly, they’re free.  Like Spotify & Songza, all you need is an auxiliary cable or Bluetooth enabled radio to connect to your car.

5 – Silence

You probably work 40 hours a week, you’ve got family commitments, parties to attend and so many other things to do that it’s rare to just sit in silence and do nothing. Perhaps sitting in traffic, with your phone, music radio or podcasts turned off could give you some moments to decompress, relax or simply reflect.  Just be sure not to snooze off and stay alert, your couch is not far away.

How did we do? Let us know if there are any tips we missed in the comments below.
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