Emmis’ NextRadio app heading to Sprint phones


Emmis CommunicationsSprint will begin installing the NextRadio app in an array of FM-enabled wireless devices over the coming years, allowing consumers to listen to their local radio stations on their smartphones.

The announcement also marks the official launch of NextRadio, the smartphone app that delivers a highly interactive artist and ad experience to FM-enabled smartphones.

Data for the NextRadio app is supplied by TagStation, the cloud-based engine that offers stations the ability to upload branding images that will display as default artwork in the NextRadio app, as well as call letters, format, station name and slogan. This basic, free level of station integration is open to all radio stations and creates a compelling experience within the app as the user is able to quickly associate their local stations with familiar visuals while browsing.

If a station does not register at TagStation, listeners using the NextRadio app will still be able to hear the radio station but may not see the station’s logo displayed.

“Whether the station is large market, medium market, small market, commercial or non-commercial, this free service will provide listeners with a visual radio listening experience on the FM-enabled smartphone. Radio stations no longer have to add the cost of Internet Streaming to get local FM radio on a mobile device,” said Paul Brenner, Emmis’ Chief Technology Officer and President, NextRadio.  “Adding full TagStation capabilities allows radio stations to offer listeners features like album art and artist information, listener feedback, song tagging capabilities, enhanced advertising options and social integration, which dramatically enhance the listening experience.”

“Today we set a new course as an industry, one that will bring exciting audience and advertiser engagement opportunities,” Emmis Chairman & CEO Jeff Smulyan said.  “This announcement is a credit to the entire radio industry, which has unified to make this happen.”

Smulyan noted that more than 1,500 stations signed up for the free services offered by TagStation and thousands more are expected. Additionally, industry leaders like Beasley, CBS Radio, Entercom, Greater Media and Hubbard registered for the additional services through TagStation.

In May, we reported The Nokia Lumia 925 smartphone is coming out with an FM chip. Earlier models will also turn on FM.

RBR-TVBR observation: This is great news for the radio industry. As most everyone knows, cellphone service will be of little use in a local emergency as we’ve seen so many times. The cell networks will be overloaded. Who carries a radio with them anymore? Very few. So this solves that problem completely with FM signals turning the phones into radios. Kudos to Sprint for getting the FM chips into cell phones as fast as possible. Local radio will take it from there, as it always has.