Create Your Personal Radio with Pandora

A few years ago, I noticed a couple of my co-workers were playing music on their computers. It wasn’t loud or annoying, but I was curious about how they were doing it. So I asked and they shared with me the miracle of Pandora, free personalized internet radio. 

If you love music, especially while working at a desktop or laptop (as I do), I guarantee you will love Pandora.  One click and I can listen to Classical, Broadway, Rock, Brazilian, Hawaiian, Jazz, Latin, Country, Holiday you-name-it – and I can Sinatraadd the artists I like best too.  I created a channel called “Mom’s Music” filled with the singers and songs my mother loved – Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughn, Jack Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Steve and Eydie, Doris Day, Barbra Streisand, even Michael Buble.  I listen to “Mom’s Music” at night when I’m surfing the web for blog topics! 

Right now I’m listening to Broadway music from Les Mis, Wicked and The Sound of Music.  Earlier I was listening to the luscious Brazilian samba melodies of Antonio Carlos Jobim.  Later, when the mid-afternoon blahs invariably set in, I will amp myself up with some Rolling Stones or Jimmy Buffett instead of an energy drink.

Pandora is powered by The Music Genome Project, founded by musicians and music-lovers who like all kinds of music and whose passionate goal is to connect YOU with the music YOU love.  It’s free, with advertising, but there is an option called Pandora One that lets you pay $36 per year (or $3.99/month) to eliminate the ads, access the Desktop App that functions independently of a browser window, and gives you higher quality audio. I upgraded.

You set your station by specifying an artist or a song, or a combination of songs and artists the way I did with “Mom’s Music”.  You can also tune into their “genre” stations or other users’ stations. If you don’t like a track, you can give it a thumbs-down and it will stop immediately and won’t play again. Same with if you like a track – you give it a thumbs-up and Pandora will determine similarly classified songs to be played on your station.  If you do too many thumbs-downs in a row, you’ll get a short ban on skipping songs.  You can also buy songs via links to iTunes or Amazon.  It’s just an amazing site and I hope more Boomers will sign on and share this great experience of music on demand.  You can easily learn a lot just clicking around on the site. 

The Pandora app is on my smart phone and tablet too.  At this point, I listen to Pandora as much or more than I do my iTunes playlist. I’m also a big fan of SiriusXM satellite radio. I have it in my car and can pull it up on the computer too.  But I think Pandora is easier. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Shannon Ingram
Shannon is a co-founder of BoomerReviews.com. An expert in the field of marketing to Boomers, seniors and family caregivers, she is the author of "The Heart Way - A Journey from Corporate to Care" about her experience of caring for her elderly parents. She is Vice President of Industry Marketing for Caring.com and an active supporter of UCI MIND, the University of California Irvine's Institute for Memory Impairment and Neurological Disorders. She considers her most important title to be "Granny Shanny" and enjoys spending as much time as possible with her two grandchildren.

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