The New York company has been granted the first “interactive radio license” by Universal Music Group, according to ClickRadio founder Hank Williams (no relation to Hank Williams of music fame).

ClickRadio will operate much like Internet radio broadcasts but with two important differences: listeners can pick their own music to customize their own private “station,” and the programming will be stored on disk rather than streamed.

Under terms of the agreement, ClickRadio will license music content from Universal. Then professional programmers can choose from the selections in order to create “channels” and formats according to individual listener preferences, while protecting copyright holders.

The music will be delivered in 35 popular categories and listeners will be able to click a “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down” to indicate how often or how little they would prefer to hear a particular title in their customized mix.

Listeners will also have the ability to call up lyrics as well as information about artists and advertisers. Yes, advertisers. Just like commercial radio, somebody has to pay the bills.

“We are not a Web site but a new way to listen to music in whatever venue you happen to choose,” Williams said.

Lucent Technologies is licensing to ClickRadio a technology called ePac, which includes encryption to make it harder to copy songs, as well as a data compression with better sound quality than many alternatives on the Internet. ClickRadio promises no “data burps” or jerky sound as is often heard in streaming audio.

There are, however, some drawbacks.

ClickRadio’s software and programming starts with 300 songs that take up some 600 megabytes of hard-disc space. While consumers with Internet connections, such as cable or DSL, and large disc drives can handle a large download, people with slower connections and smaller hard drives will have to wait for discs to be distributed by the company.