NextRadio: NAB Show wrap-up

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Next RadioThe TagStation Team has compiled a NextRadio wrap-up from the NAB Show last week and the news is good. To kick it off, last week’s keynote by NAB President and CEO, Gordon Smith, had a few great shout-outs for NextRadio. He opened his thoughts with how it’s an exciting time to be in the media business and noted: “NextRadio is presenting a highly interactive experience for radio listeners on smartphones.” He later states, “The enduring value of broadcasting remains – it is the ultimate survivor. Even with competing media platforms, broadcast radio and television is still the preferred technology for news and entertainment. From hybrid FM radio, mobile TV and ultra HD, we are experiencing exciting developments in broadcasting.”


The latest numbers:

–Over 300,000 app downloads

–Over 8,400 FM radio stations tuned to from the app

–Over 275,000 hours of listening through NextRadio

–A 4.1/5.0 Google Play Store user rating

More from Tag Station:

“There was a palpable buzz surrounding NextRadio at the show, from the sessions where hybrid radio was represented, to meetings and demos at our booth and beyond, to the great media coverage.

In sessions, NextRadio had excellent visibility. Kevin Gage, EVP & CTO of the NAB stated in his Broadcast Engineering Conference keynote, “Consumers are a long way from abandoning traditional broadcast media. They just want their content anytime, anywhere and on any device… There are now over a million new FM Radios in mobile phones on the market that provide our consumers a re-envisioned graphical and immersive FM radio experience.”

In Monday’s “Hybrid Radio: Making it Happen at Your Station” session, Sprint Product Manager, Eric Williams talked about Sprint’s opinion of NextRadio, “It’s now everybody’s favorite application. The numbers we see from the monthly reports are growing straight up… [The app provides] more robust options for our music customers… This is going to keep growing, and that is going to give us more opportunities to market this.” And Scott Burnell, Global Head of Business Development and Partner Management at Ford spoke about the possibilities for hybrid radio in the car dashboard, “One of the things you should be scared about and drive you to adopt this is customization… it’s going to be a very important part of the vehicle going forward… The AM/FM button will always be there, but where is it in the dash? The display in the vehicle is going to be like the smartphone or the tablet,” and indicated NextRadio is a good fit.

As the Keynote speaker for Tuesday’s Radio Luncheon, Yahoo tech expert, David Pogue asserted the broadcasters in the audience “should be on the mountaintop talking about this app”. He said, “Think what it does: It’s two-way, it’s social, you can give a thumbs up and a thumbs down to the radio station whether you like what you’re hearing, advertisers can do super-targeted things, you can see album art… it’s everything radio should be in terms of integration of the phone and radio.”

The FCC had positive things to say about the technology. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel spoke about not just being a regulator, but also a consumer. “I think it would be really neat to have [an FM chip] on my phone and I think it would drain my battery a little less.” She also indicated she and her FCC colleagues should “agitate carriers a little to make that happen.” And Chairman Tom Wheeler stressed FM in smartphones should be part of the public safety debate.

In the exhibit hall, we met broadcasters from all over the US (and beyond) – those who just learned about NextRadio and wanted more information on how to get started, and those who are already participating and wanted to say hello. We performed demos for members of the FCC and Congress as well as the non-broadcaster public who just thought it looked like a great idea (right?!).

The takeaway? People who see the app get it, but we have more work to do. Again, not to sound like a broken record, but we need broadcasters’ participation in content delivery in order to have a solid product to market to consumers. We are well aware that is a chicken/egg situation – that some broadcasters are waiting to see what the consumer adoption is before jumping on board – but without enhanced content, the consumer will feel bilked of the experience we’re promising. We took every opportunity while meeting with people at the show to drive that concept home, and it will continue to be our top priority.

“I think we are truly on the verge of making NextRadio a solution that the radio industry can own and use to compete in the new digital world in ways we never could before.” – Paul Brenner, CTO Emmis Communications (…& President of TagStation)

It’s been a little while since we’ve announced a new NextRadio-enabled phone, but last week made the wait worthwhile. Sprint introduced two new blockbuster Android phones on Thursday and Friday: the reboot of the HTC One (M8) and the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 are now both available in Sprint stores and online. We expect to see a nice bump in activations from both of those in the coming weeks, but are pleased to give an early report that after the Galaxy S5’s release, we saw a new one-day record of nearly 5,000 app downloads.”

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Team members demo NextRadio
for congressional aides
KPNT-NextRadio-Takeovers
David Pogue talks up NextRadio
at Tuesday’s Radio Luncheon
KPNT-NextRadio-Takeovers
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler pays
a visit to the booth

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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.