Streamed 24 hours a day in a variety of formats, the station has been online since 2001. It plays music mainly from the scores of fantasy films such as Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian and Pan's Labyrinth, and from the soundtracks to computer role-playing games like Warcraft, Baldur's Gate and Guild Wars. Composers range from the famous (Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, Jeremy Soule, etc.), to less-well-known independent bands and artists who submit their fantasy music to be played online. Along with the music is an online discussion forum. Listeners who register for free can post to the forum, rate the music, and vote in the annual "Fantasy Awards".
Based in Sweden, the station began when Anders Dahlgren (who goes by the moniker "Lord Elrond" online) and his friends wanted ambient background music to supplement their role-playing game (RPGs) sessions. After trying various CDs, Dahlgren began to experiment with broadcasting music over the Internet using a SHOUTcast server. Soon, listeners from around the world were tuning in.
In 2005, Swedish record label Waerloga Records asked Radio Rivendell to help recruit artists for their dark fantasy compilation CD, A Tribute to Uglakh. In 2007, the station once again paired with Waerloga to produce the first Radio Rivendell Compilation, an anthology of 16 tracks composed and performed by notable and lesser known artists in the fantasy music genre. Most recently, Radio Rivendell Compilation, vol. 2: The Book of War was released in April 2008. This time 17 fantasy tracks were tied together by a single storyline (printed in the accompanying booklet) of an epic battle between a dark lord and a noble captain.
On January 9, 2008, Sci Fi Weekly, the ezine of T.V.'s Sci Fi Channel, named Radio Rivendell its "Site of the Week".
The station is financed mainly by donations and the sale of compilation CDs.
Since 2005, Radio Rivendell has been collaborating with Waerloga Records on a series of compilation cds.
A Tribute to Uglakh (2005) musicians include: Za Frûmi, Cryo, Balaghan, Alvskugga, Autumn tears, Musterion, Encryption, Patrice Deceuninck, OverCoat, Atrium Carceri, Rising Shadows, Vurpa, The Soil Bleeds Black, Vox Vulgaris, Unto Ashes, Abnocto, Sagor & Swing, Volstoj, and Vagrant's Steps.
Radio Rivendell Compilation (2007) musicians include: Markus Holler, Erdenstern, Sean Beeson, Wilbert Roget, II, Gargrim the Liar, Dimitrij Volstoj, Sibelian, Tom W Hall, Abnocto, Balaghan, Lost Kingdom, Rising Shadows, Tincolindo, Project Morfeo, Morgan the bard, and Helen Trevillion.
Radio Rivendell Compilation, vol. 2: The Book of War (2008) musicians include: Sean Beeson, Zmei Gorinich, Erdenstern, Sully Koba, A journey of the mind, Unto Ashes, Gargrim the Liar, Sibelian, Markus Holler, Dimitrij Volstoj, Za Frûmi, Lost Kingdom, Anabasis, Peter Szwach, Encryption, Ataraxia, and Dråm.
Since 2005, Radio Rivendell has sponsored the annual "Fantasy Awards" for achievement in fantasy-related music and design. The awards are nominated and voted on by the station's listeners.
- Best Fantasy Game Soundtrack: World of Warcraft Soundtrack by Jason Hayes, Tracy W. Bush, Derek Duke, and Glenn Stafford
- Best Song from a Fantasy Game: "Crystal Oasis", from Guild Wars by Jeremy Soule
- Best Soundtrack Composer: Jeremy Soule
- Best Unsigned Artist: Helen Trevillion
- Best Song by an Unsigned Artist: "The Mermaid Part I: The Storm" by Helen Trevillion
- Best Fantasy Website: Encyclopedia of Arda
- Best Fantasy Album or Game Soundtrack: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion by Jeremy Soule
- Best Song from a Fantasy Album or Game: "Into the Red", from Into the Red by Erdenstern
- Best Fantasy Composer: Erdenstern
- Best Unsigned Artist: Sean Beeson
- Best Song by an Unsigned Artist: "Aetherius" by Paul Houseman
- Best Fantasy Website: Encyclopedia of Arda
- Best Fantasy Art: "Lord Elrond" by Surajo
- Best Fantasy Album: Legends of Kitholan, Vol. 1: Tales of the Long Forgotten by Dronolan's Tower
- Best Fantasy Game Soundtrack: The Witcher (video game) by Pawel Blaszczak & Adam Skorupa
- Best Fantasy Film or TV Soundtrack: Stardust (2007 film) by Ilan Eshkeri
- Best Song from a Fantasy Album or Game: "Under the Dark Span", from Guild Wars: Eye of the North by Jeremy Soule
- Best Fantasy Composer: Jeremy Soule
- Best Unsigned Artist: Dronolan's Tower
- Best Song by an Unsigned Artist: "Charge of the Valiant" from Legends of Kitholan, Vol. 1: Tales of the Long Forgotten by Dronolan's Tower
- Best Fantasy Website: War of the Ring
- Best Original Artwork: Fae Magazine Winter 2007 (debut) magazine cover by Karen Kay, Priscilla Hernandez, Amorel Hamilton, Michael Tingle, and Bryony Whistlecraft