Your own Grand Theft Auto San Andreas radio

Relive the San Andreas glory days with this Grand Theft Auto radio built by Raphaël Yancey.

…and now I have Barracuda stuck in my head.

The music of GTA

Anyone who has played Grand Theft Auto knows that one of the best parts of the series is the radio stations: a mix of classic tunes and often comical DJ interludes make driving haphazardly through the streets of San Andreas a joy.


And much like fans of the Fallout series, many of us GTA players are guilty of listening to the in-game music outside of gaming sessions.

Hacking a radio

Maker Raphaël Yancey loves the San Andreas tunes so much, he decided to build his own Grand Theft Auto radio, complete with the MP3s available from Rockstar, the game’s creators.

Raphaël used a 1970s Optalix TO100 portable radio for this project, along with a Raspberry Pi 3. While this would be enough to create a music player, he also added two potentiometers for volume control and frequency tuning, as shown in the video above.

GTA Radio

Python code allows the potentiometers to move within a virtual frequency range of 88.7Mhz to 108.0Mhz, with five stations to find along the way. A status LED lights up whenever you tune into a station, and the Pi lets you listen to it. Raphaël explains:

The software I wrote can handle as many stations as the hardware can! Also, the stations all play simultaneously, not only when you tune in, for that real, sweet radio vibe.

You can find Raphaël’s complete tutorial for building your own GTA radio here. We’re keen to see what other game-based music projects our community will come up with. Here at Pi Towers, we have a spare Fallout Pip-Boy that’s aching to play the sweet sounds of the post-apocalyptic Commonwealth…

Raspberry Pi and music

The integration of Raspberry Pi within music projects is a theme we’re very fond of. From rejuvenated jukeboxes such as Tijuana Rick’s 1960’s Wurlitzer, to The Nest, a USB music download system built into Table Mountain, we’ve seen a host of imaginative projects and are always eager to discover more.

So if you’ve used a Raspberry Pi in your music project, whether it be a jukebox, a guitar pedal, or an instrument, be sure to share it with us.


Martin O'Hanlon avatar

Ah Radio X, I wonder how many cars I trashed listening to this station?

Alex Bate avatar

The number of times I’ve wished Radio X was a real station. I think I’d start listening to the radio again if it was just the stations from GTA and SSX.

Texy avatar

Radio X IS a real station, although Chris Moyles and Johnny Vaughan don’t quite play the same ditties….

Simon West avatar

That is such a wonderful idea. I’d love to do that and bring in more stations from other games like Fallout or Burnout Paradise.

Alex Bate avatar

I feel a Pi Towers project coming on! But we need to include SSX too. That had an amazing radio station.

Simon West avatar

Can we have an Assassin’s Creed 4 Sea Shanty channel on there too?

Alex Bate avatar

We’d need to record our own pirate DJ to fill in the gaps between shanties.

Janina Ander avatar

I nominate MrC!

AndrewS avatar

One potentiometer for tuning, one potentiometer for volume, and a 3rd potentiometer to change the game that the radio stations are chosen from? :-)

West Simon avatar

That’s what the save channel buttons should be for.

Cargo Cult avatar

I managed to do the opposite – thanks to the custom radio station feature built into the game, I ended up driving around the streets of San Andreas while listening to BBC Radio 4.

Evading the police while the Archers theme tune plays? So very, very wrong…

(Nice work on this physical virtual radio!)

Alex Bate avatar

Hahaha, that’s brilliant.

Anon avatar

That gif is GTA V not GTA:SA

Comments are closed