next radio

Sprint announced this week that they have launched the NextRadio app, which will give many smartphone users the chance to listen to FM radio without draining their batteries or data plans. The terrestrial (FM/AM) radio industry has been pushing for this concept for a long time. Some Android and Windows smartphones come with a built-in FM receiver, but until now, these receivers were dormant.
NextRadio will be pre-loaded on some Sprint phones, such as the HTC One and HTC EVO 4G LTE, and it will be available for download on other phones. The app, when installed on these FM-enabled Sprint phones, will let users choose radio stations by either format or dial position. The NextRadio app will create a visual display of radio stations, which will show artist, title, and album, and allow users to buy a song with one click. Other listener benefits include song-tagging and built-in social capabilities. And, according to Sprint, “when compared with streaming, NextRadio consumes about three times less battery life than other music apps.” 

On the station side, the app contains several benefits. First, it will also allow stations to serve coupons, and other station and sponsor information to listeners. Stations that have signed on with TagStation, a cloud-based service, will be able to serve up additional data. A second benefit to stations is savings in music royalties when compared with online or other mobile app streaming.

Terrestrial radio is the last bastion of analog entertainment. In fact, terrestrial radio has held up pretty well despite ever increasing competition from satellite and internet radio. According to figures from Arbitron, the radio ratings service, 92% of all Americans 12 and over listen to terrestrial radio each week. While most stations offer some form of streaming mobile app, the vast majority of radio listening continues to be via analog receivers. Still, the industry recognizes the urgency of being as accessible as possible on digital platforms.
“Today we set a new course as an industry, one that will bring exciting audience and advertiser engagement opportunities,” Emmis Broadcasting Chairman & CEO Jeff Smulyan said. “This announcement is a credit to the entire radio industry, which has unified to make this happen.” 

– Pat Welsh