Wunder Radio can put thousands of global stations in your pocket.
App of the Week: Hear your hometown through Wunder Radio
Even the most seasoned expatriate can occasionally long for the familiar comforts of home - including those that were so familiar they bred contempt: the local TV weatherman, the neighbour's barking dog and the radio host who was so aggravating during your morning commute you often had to pull your fingernails out of the steering wheel.
A little such nostalgia goes a long way, and Wunder Radio (Dh25, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile), is a smartphone app that doles out just the right dose of medicine.
Wunder Radio live-streams thousands of terrestrial radio stations from around the world - and that probably includes at least three or four from your hometown.
Unlike Web radio, which tailors content specific to you using some mystical, mind-reading algorithm, Wunder Radio plays actual live broadcasts from actual old-fashioned stations - you know, the ones with towers, call-in promotions for free circus tickets, and DJs who sound cool but in real life either look like Animal from The Muppet Show or smell like a gym locker leaking musk cologne.
And when I say thousands of radio stations, I'm not kidding. Pick almost any city on any continent, and you'll likely find at least several stations: Radio Latvia 4 in Riga; Gabz FM in Gaborone, Botswana; 104.7 in Canberra, Australia; and my personal favourite, KRMD in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana (by the way, the Boardwalk Mall is having an Easter sale, if you happen to be in the area, but you'll have to head east on Interstate 20 to cross the Red River because the Texas Street Bridge is closed for repairs).
Wunder Radio has myriad uses. Planning a holiday? Tune into destination stations so you can go straight to wherever the commercials or live concert remotes say the cool people are hanging out as soon as you deplane. Reception problems? Get static-free signals from nearby cities. Want to relive your old high school days? Listen to play-by-play sports commentary about your alma mater's big Friday night football game against your cross-town rivals.
The app allows you to search by genre or location, and it can use your GPS signal to automatically find nearby stations. Satellite radio subscribers can also access their SiriusXM content. Even police scanners are available for some cities.
Download Wunder Radio and you'll likely be surprised by what you learn. I, for one, now know not to fly back home until that bridge is fixed - what a traffic nightmare Interstate 20 must be.
Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at firstname.lastname@example.org