How to Stream Radio Using Icecast on VLC Media Player

Access hundreds of internet streaming radio streams using Icecast

What to Know

  • From the VLC sidebar, select Icecast Radio Directory. Double-click any radio station to start listening.
  • If you don't see the sidebar, select View > Show Sidebar from the main menu bar.
  • To bookmark a station, click and drag the title to one of the playlists listed under Library in the sidebar.

VLC media player is popular, no doubt because it's free, cross-platform, and supports almost all audio and video formats without the need for additional codecs. It can also stream music and play videos while they are downloading. If you are a fan of streaming internet radio stations, learn how to stream radio stations on VLC media player for free.

VLC media player is free and available for Windows, Linux, and Mac computers, as well as Android and iOS devices. All platforms support Icecast.

How to Use Icecast to Stream Radio Stations on Your Computer

Accessing the Icecast feature isn't obvious unless you're familiar with the VLC interface. However, it is easy to set up a ​playlist so you can start streaming your favorite radio stations straight to your desktop. Before you set up Icecast, you must have an up-to-date version of VLC media player installed on your computer.

  1. From the VLC media player main menu bar, select View and then choose Show Sidebar.

    Show Sidebar may already be selected by default.

    VLC show sidebar
  2. From the sidebar on the left, select Icecast Radio Directory. Wait a moment for the list of available streams to display in the main window.

    VLC Icecast radio directory
  3. Browse the list of stations to find one you'd like to listen to. Alternatively, if you're searching for something specific, use the search box at the top of the screen. This box acts as a filter; you can enter the name of a radio station, a genre, or other criteria to see relevant results.

    VLC Icecast radio stations
  4. To stream a radio station on the list, double-click the title to connect. To choose another radio stream, select another station in the directory list.

  5. To bookmark a station, click and drag the title to one of the playlists listed under Library in the sidebar.

What Is Icecast?

Icecast is a streaming media server platform that supports online radio, private jukeboxes, and other streaming services that depend on files in the Ogg (Vorbis and Theora), Opus, WebM, and MP3 formats. Icecast is free and open source, released under version 2 of the GNU public license.

In older versions of VLC media player, the program included a built-in feature for accessing and streaming Shoutcast radio stations. This useful tool is no longer available, but you can still access hundreds of radio stations that broadcast over the internet using another network: Icecast.

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