Relay.fm has a schedule of live shows which you can listen to as they are recording. Most people just listen to these in a web browser, because that makes the most sense and is the easiest way to do it. If you have an iOS device you can use the free Relay.fm app which I will also use if I am not at home when a show is live.
However, if I am on my Mac when a show is live, I prefer to listen using VLC which is a free app, and I also like to record the live show, either so I can pause it if I get interrupted or can just listen later to the MP3. This is accomplished by using VLC plus Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack program, which is not free, but which any self-respecting Mac nerd ought to own because it’s amazing cool and powerful. It can do 1,000 more things than this, but I’m just going to talk about this for now.
Using VLC to listen to Relay.fm live
To listen to Relay.fm in VLC, you need the URL to the live-stream server:
That URL is only enabled when the live-stream is active.
First go the File » Open Network:
Second, put the URL into the Network URL in the Open Source window that will open:
If the live-stream is active, it will look like this:
If you’re comfortable with the command line, you can replace the first two steps by this line in Terminal:
open -a VLC 'http://stream.relay.fm:8000/stream'
which will automatically open VLC with the stream playing (again, only if it is live).
Record Relay.fm Live with VLC and Audio Hijack
If you want to record Relay.fm with Audio Hijack, we can still use VLC, and then set it up the output to go two places:
- To an MP3 so we can listen later
To the Mac’s speakers
In number 2, we also add a “Time Shift” block, which will allow us to pause the livestream (which will keep recording in real-time to the MP3, because that is completely separate). It will also allow us to rewind the broadcast if we missed something. It’s sort of like TiVo for audio.
The setup (which Audio Hijack calls a “Session”) will look something like this:
You can see there are two “branches” from VLC, one going up to an MP3, and the other going down to “Time Shift” and “Output Device”.
We have to tell VLC what to play when this Session runs, which we can set by clicking on the VLC “block” in Audio Hijack, which will reveal the VLC settings. You can see it here:
Note that the box next to “Open URL” is checked, and the URL is entered into the appropriate box.
You can also change the MP3 settings (not shown) by clicking on the “Recorder” block. I have mine set to save recordings to the folder
~/Music/Audio Hijack/ with filenames that are formatted like this:
The first part makes sure that all the Relay.fm recordings will be grouped together by name, and then the date (YYYY-MM-DD) followed by the time that the recording began (13-04 refers to 1:04 p.m. local time on May 16th of 2019).
You can download my Audio Hijack session file here: Relay-to-Speakers-and-mp3.ahsession
Assuming you have Audio Hijack installed, you should be able to double-click on the
Relay-to-Speakers-and-mp3.ahsession file and have it open right in Audio Hijack. You can then adjust any of the settings that you might want to change. (The file also assumes that VLC is installed at
p.s. – You can easily adapt these instructions to record other podcasts which record live, by creating a new “Session” in Audio Hijack and changing the URL of the live-stream server. For example, ATP’s URL is
With ATP, you can even use Audio Hijack’s “Schedule” feature to record Wednesday nights at 8:58 p.m. (US/Eastern) to 11:55 p.m. and automatically record most of ATP’s live shows. They do occasionally change that date/time of recording, but that will catch most weeks. I suggest starting a few minutes before 9:00 p.m. not because I want to subject you to Marco’s Phish concerts, but just to give yourself a little leeway. Also, they usually stop recording long before 11:55 p.m., but Audio Hijack is smart enough to figure out when there is no sound playing.