Follow That Space Station!

And variety is probably good for your smart TV’s health, too
By James Careless,

What’sNext is Radio World’s watch on everything new in audio content distribution. Among the interesting recent items that have come across our desk:

RADIOISS

Ever wonder which radio stations the astronauts on the International Space Station might tune to as they circle the globe every 90 minutes?

The streaming audio site radioISS (www.radioiss.com) answers this question in real time. In addition to featuring a window with the ISS live HD video feed — when it’s up — radioISS offers a map showing the ISS’s current location relative to the ground, and streams audio from radio stations located in that area.

This website was created as an experiment by Greg Murphy, “ably assisted by his brother Ken,” says the More Info page at www.radioiss.com. As the ISS moves, the Earth map and available stations change.

CHROMECAST BOOSTS RADIO APPS

Google’s $35 Chromecast dongle is being pitched to people who want to watch Netflix and other online video streamers on their smart TVs. However, this device can also run radio apps — and Google is now offering lots of them.

When Chromecast launched in 2012, it only had two radio apps. Now there are more than 90 available on the platform. They include TuneIn Radio (the big database of broadcast/Internet-only stations and podcasts), 8tracks (person-curated playlists and stations), NPR One, last.soma (32 “different” eclectic, ad-free music stations), and Songza (another person-curated app). Chromecast also supports podcast aps such as Beyondpod and Pocket Casts; and streaming audio apps such Pandora, Rdio and Google Play Music.

RDIO

Can you hear me now? If it’s the streaming audio service Rdio.com that you want to listen to on your mobile device — and if you’re in the Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean or Central America — the answer may now be yes.

“Through our exclusive partnership with mobile phone network provider Digicel, Rdio will be available in 24 new markets and an additional seven regions,” stated Rdio on its blog (http://blog.rdio.com/ca/news). “Digicel will offer all prepaid data customers 30 minutes of free Rdio Internet radio listening per day on their mobile phones without accruing data usage charges.” Digicel will also help Rdio “infuse local influence” into curated playlists aimed at these regions.

SIMPLE RADIO FOR ANDROID

What’sNext looked at the streaming media site Streema (http://streema.com) a couple columns ago, and discovered that it was an extremely easy-to-use way to access both radio and TV station feeds. Well, clearly the world reads What’sNext — at least we like to think so — because the iOS app that Streema released in October 2014 (and which we mentioned) has achieved more than 500,000 installs from the Apple Store.

Streema is following up on its iOS success by launching an Android app. Called Simple Radio for Android and available at Google Play (http://streema.com/mobile), this Streema app can access about 25,000 radio stations from around the world, and covering most genres of music and talk. Streema says its online service reaches more than 5 million users each month.

Among iOS Streema app users, “We have an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars, which we attribute to our simple design and focus on minimizing friction within the user experience,” said Richard Monte, CEO of Streema.. “We have purposefully chosen to stay away from extraneous features by keeping it simple and giving users exactly what they want — access to their radio stations as fast and reliably as possible.”

Don’t mention it, Streema; we’re happy to help. (Still, it wouldn’t kill you to send flowers.)

James Careless reports on the industry for Radio World from Ottawa, Ontario.