Pirate Radio is worthless

please please please give COMPLETE STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS for adding new stations to the Pirate Radio.
Despite what you might think, there are no instructions THAT WORK anywhere. As you know the radio is worthless
without being able to put new stations on it. The stations it comes with are less than worthless. No humans would ever
listen to this crap. Please help!

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I’m not an expert by any means, but these are the steps I use to create a playlist:

  1. Go to Shoutcast.com
  2. Search for a station you like (for example, “Smooth Jazz Tampa”)
  3. Click on the download icon next to the play button, Select, "Any Player (.m3u)
  4. Once the file is downloaded, open it up with a text editor of your choice
  5. In the file you will see something like, “Smooth Jazz Tampa
  6. You just want the “” part
  7. Paste that address into the, “default.m3u” file that came with your Pirate radio code (GitHub example below).

To load your playlist, just follow these directions from Pimoroni… Hope this helps.

A default playlist is supplied with the project, but you can (and probably will want to) tune in your favorite stations, of course.
You can either create a playlist.m3u and drop it in your home folder (in /home/pi/.config/vlc/), or if you don’t feel like logging in via ssh you may also drop the playlist.m3u in the /boot partition of your SD from another computer and the VLC daemon will copy it in place for your convenience.
Reboot (or restart the vlcd service) after editing or creating the file for it to take effect."

Thanks for the response but I’ve read everything on line and no
instructions work. I’ve successfully loaded the software, because the radio
works, just on those godawful three stations. Every attempt to to place m3u
files in “default.m3u” ,results in “no such file or directory”. I’m pulling
my hair out.

Hey Jon! What sort of music is your bag?

I found the following webpage that has a bunch of links to streaming stations in MP3 format. I picked three at random - ones that ended “_128k.mp3” - and then dropped the URLs for them into a playlist.m3u file in the /boot folder, one per line, as it says in the tutorial. After a quick reboot, the stations are loaded and it all just works.

Do you have a display and keyboard hooked up to your radio? If so, then type the following in the terminal:

sudo nano /boot/playlist.m3u

Then type in the URLs, one per line. Press control and x, then y, then enter to save and exit. Lastly type sudo reboot to reboot the Pi.

If you don’t have a display and keyboard hooked up, shut down and pop the SD card out, then pop it into a memory card reader on your desktop/laptop. It should mount a folder called boot. Do the same as above, creating a playlist.m3u file and drop it straight into that boot folder, making sure that it’s in plain text and not rich text format (a text editor like Notepad++ or Sublime Text is best) and that there aren’t any extra extensions (like “.txt”) on the end of the filename.

Let us know how you get on with that.

I should also have mentioned that we have a couple of other setups you can try that will give you more freedom over the music you play. :-) The Spotify one might be especially relevant.

Spotify: https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/sandyj/streaming-spotify-to-your-pi
AirPlay: https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/sandyj/streaming-airplay-to-your-pi

Thanks so much for the excellent response. I was much too frustrated and
upset when I contacted you and I know I sounded like a jerk. Sorry. I truly
love all my Pimoroni products (I have a lot of 'em)and you have great
customer service. I was always able to load stations via dropping playlist
files into the boot card, but became frustrated when I couldn’t do it via
ssh. I’m just not patient enough and I’m really sorry for that stupid email
I sent. I love the Pirate Radio so much I bought my wife one.
I also really enjoy the videos on YouTube. Please keep up the great work
and don’t let morons like me get to you. Oh yeah, like most guys in our
sixties, we love Radio Caroline and the music they play on both their
Caroline channel and Flashback service. I can guarantee happiness from a
huge percentage of your customers if you include the Caroline URL as one of
the “demo” stations. Computer generated music is not really happening. MIDI
stuff is fine for composers to knock out demo arrangements for later
sessions with real instruments but as stand alone music it pretty much
sucks. And those are the current demo stations- all computer music. Yes, it
has a small audience, but Caroline, now that would ROCK!
Thanks for putting up with us pesky customers,


Not a problem, Jon! We’re always happy to help. Venting frustration is good for the soul from time to time. And we’ll add Radio Caroline just for you, plus a few others to broaden the range!

Thanks! You are the best!

Hi again, Jon! I’ve just added 10 new stations covering a bewildering array of genres, plus your requested Radio Caroline and Flashback. If you run the installer again then it should pull down all of the new stations, or you can just grab the URLs from the link below and add them yourself. :-)

I’m rocking out to Talking Heads on Radio 2 currently…


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You absolutely ROCK!!!
Thanks a million!!!

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So just to check. Is this paragraph from the instructions accurate?

The list of stations is in a file in /home/pi/.config/vlc called playlist.m3u. You can edit it by typing sudo nano /home/pi/.config/pi/vlc/playlist.m3u in a terminal, adding the URLs for the stations, one per line, and then pressing control and x, then y, then enter to save and exit. After rebooting (type sudo reboot) the new stations should be available.

Because I can’t seem to find that file.

Never got it to work that way. Had to make playlist in notepad on a pc,
then drop the file directly on the pi micro sd card. This way works

Think I found it…


(Not tested it yet)

To change the radios you need to create the file playlist.m3u in /boot

sudo nano /boot/playlist.m3u

Or alternatively you could place the file

In /home/pi/.config/vlc

As I’ve said, that file path doesn’t exist.

I’m going to to test the one I’ve found above, as I don’t want to edit the file in /boot, I want to use ssh.

I found it! (and tested it)


The file I found previously was just the example for the project.

Ok. From reading the big pirate radio thread (Pi Zero W, Pirate Radio and the PhatBeat), I gather it would be best for me to copy the default.m3u to a newly created ~/.config/vlc/ folder to stop it being overwritten by any updates?

Does that sound about right? Will that config folder’s contents override the default.m3u in the /etc/vlcd folder?

Yes that is what you should do

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Cheers, that’s all worked now (although I almost forgot to rename the file from default.m3u to playlist.m3u).

Now how would I set up the web interface for VLC? I tried setting the password in vlcrc in the .config/vlc folder but this seems to have no effect.

(I just tried the password ‘raspberry’ on a hunch and it worked. Not sure how to change it. This isn’t my device password for what it’s worth)

Ok, I’ve discovered all the settings are found by editing /usr/bin/vlcd