“You Are Listening To”: Ambient music mixed with police radio scanners makes for a trippy listening experience

you are listening to new york

Sometimes, I like having a little background noise going on while I work: a TV tuned to the news, some music, a little cafe chatter, or the splashing sounds of a pool (as you may have guessed, I work from a home office). The internet is often my source of said background noise, and once again, it has provided — this time, in the form of You Are Listening To, located at the easy-to-remember URL

Its formula is simple: take some ambient electronic music…

synth studio

…and layer some city’s police and emergency services radio on top, and boom! Ambient mash-up!

cop on radio

I’ve been listening to You are Listening to Halifax for the past hour or so, which combines ambient music with the sounds of Central Nova Scotia’s Fire and EMS radio, and as you might expect, it’s been pretty peaceful.

you are listening to halifax

The most popular channel on the site by far is You Are Listening to New York, which punctuates its ambient music with NYPD Special Operations Division and Traffic’s radio. Strangely enough, it’s pretty relaxing and unobtrusive, but there wasn’t a 9/11-scale emergency going on at the time. Your mileage is going to vary.

If you’re worried about being distracted by the chatter on the radio, try one of the channels that uses audio in another language. You Are Listening to St. Petersburg mixes its ambient music with the police radio of the copycat St. Petersburg (the original’s here in Florida, of course). Are you a fan of air control chatter? How about You are Listening to JFK Air Traffic Control? Do you like your chill-out music peppered with rocket engineering talk like “guidance is internal”? Then You are Listening to NASA’s for you!

You Are Listening To has all sorts of ambient-music-plus-radio-feeds for you to listen to, and you can even create your own channel: just pick a SoundCloud playlist for the music, a Broadcastify stream for the radio, a YouTube video for visual wallpaper, and a background image, and you’ve got your own chill-out mashup. I think I’ll be playing around with this site for the next little while.

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