How To Bend iTunes Radio Stations To Your Will With Tuning Options

| Tips

Apple released iTunes Radio as part of iOS 7, and some folks find it lackluster because the stations aren’t quite what they had in mind. And by people I mean me, because I think of "Pet Shop Boys Radio" as "30 Years Or So Of Electronic Disco-y Pop Music" and iTunes thinks it is more "Here's A Bunch Of 80's Bands Where At Least One Member Wears Guyliner."

Kelly bends iTunes Radio to her will, and so can you!Kelly bends iTunes Radio to her will, and so can you!

So here’s how to tune those stations, both on iOS and Mac OS:

First, on iOS, here’s where the tuning options live. Launch the Music app and tap the iTunes Radio icon in the lower left:

There's iTunes Radio, down in the lower left.

In Radio, you should see stations available, including your own. Tap Edit next to My Stations:

Hey look! My list of stations!

Here you can see the tuning information and make changes to the station name as well as tweaking the “Play More Like This” and “Never Play This” options:

Let's get this station fixed up right!

Let's add an artist. Tap on the plus for Add Artist, Song, or Genre, and search for an artist:

Chromeo is a fine addition to a Pet Shop Boys station. Let's add it.

Tap the one you want from the results to add it to your station.

BONUS: From your list of stations, you can tap Edit again to adjust the order of things or delete in batches:

This is how I hid the REALLY embarassing stations on my list for screenshots.

When all the changes are made, tap the back arrow at the top left to return to the station list, then tap Done in the upper right to get back to the radio page. From here tap your station to hear the new improved version!

Here’s how on Mac OS:

Launch iTunes and click on Music under Library (if you aren’t already there). Click Radio in the bar under the player window:

Well hello there Radio!

Under Radio, tap on a station you want to edit. When your cursor is on it, you’ll see a play button so click outside the play button to get your options:

Let's edit some more. 

Clicking on the image should drop down a panel that shows not only the same two Play More and Never Play options, but also History and the “Hits/Variety/Discovery” slider.

Make changes, and click on the image for the station again to hide the panel.

If you want to rate the song that’s playing, tap the right arrow icon next to the song title: 

This also works in the mini-player mode.

Hopefully now your stations can be tuned back into usefulness again. So far I’ve found that tuning is helping, with caveats. On iOS I listen to iTunes Radio while I’m doing something else (usually yard work) and it’s a lot of taps to go tune the station in-depth, so I find that I end up using the star icon on iOS:

Rate that station on the go!

Then coming back later and cleaning up the list when I have more time, usually on my computer because it’s easier to navigate and I can see more at once to make changes.

Ready to learn more about making your own custom iTunes Radio stations? Check out Melissa Holt's great tip.

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Where’s the button for never play
“You’re listening to iTunes Radio”  ??

I am *really* tired of it.


It’s the button that signs you up for iTunes Match.


Unfortunately no. I’ve been signed up for iTunes Match and that eliminates ads. But not the dreaded “You’re listening to iTunes Radio”

It seems that it’s some kind of placeholder she the server can’t find/deliver the next song in time. In the past I would get a barber-pole “hang” but that seems to have gone away, and I guess this is the replacement. Ugh.

Maybe I need to run tcpdump to see exactly what’s going on at the time. But I shouldn’t have to do that. This is Apple - stuff is supposed to “just work”. And it doesn’t.


Really? Admittedly I haven’t listened to iTunes Radio in a couple months, but I’ve never heard anything but music come out of it ever.

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