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Apps Driving Innovation

Every industry, broadcasting included, would be wise to watch app development

Imagine a mobile phone app that is a combination of Facebook Messenger, PayPal, Uber, Google Maps, FaceTime, Skype, Calendar, iMessage,ShopSavvy, Weather Channel, Instagram, and yes, it even has radio stations!

Smartphone apps aren’t all time wasters. Some are intended to improve your productivity and communication.

This killer app is for real! It has over 800 million users and you may not have ever heard of it. Why? Because, this app called “WeChat” is primarily used in China.

With WeChat, you can pay for virtually everything with one click and no credit card. It’s actually an endless transactional platform with thousands of retailers, built on top of basically every existing social media function.

Will such a “super app” like WeChat come to dominance in the USA? Hard to say.

One thing is for certain though, every industry, broadcasting included, would be wise to watch app development for several reasons: We have to understand how our listener’s lifestyle is changing based on app usage; we need to know if it makes sense to place our own advertising and/or promotions in apps; and we need to keep up on the latest popular apps for own productivity both in the workplace and in our personal lives.

With this in mind, here a few suggested apps to test drive.


I was walking to business meeting recently in D.C. when I spotted a bright yellow bicycle on the sidewalk. Unlike other bike-sharing systems I’ve seen, this bike was just on its kickstand and not in a rack. I downloaded the app, entered my credit card information and two minutes later, I was riding!

The first ride is free. Subsequent rides are $1 per an hour. The cool part is that when you at arrive at your destination, you just park the bike, lock it and leave it on the sidewalk. Later, you use the same app to find other Ofo bikes nearby. Ofo already has over 62 million active monthly users in 13 countries.

I saw another app recently for motor-assisted bikes, but I haven’t tried it yet.


While I have expertise in broadcasting and digital media, science was never my thing. When my college-aged son needed help with chemistry, I was clueless.

I did some digging and found Wyzant, an app that matches students with tutors. Local tutors will come to your home, or you can connect nationwide via video chat and a whiteboard through the app or online. The tutor’s experience and ability vary as much as the price, but my son found several tutors who truly helped him. They have about 2 million registered users.


I work with many people collaboratively across the globe. There came a point where email became almost useless due to sheer volume and complexity of projects. Work in various time zones also complicates matters. Basecamp enabled me to keep communication in one place, create to-do lists, upload and download files and keep track of milestones.

You can still receive email if you want, but since it all flows through Basecamp, the communication is easily found, sorted and kept in order.


Sure you’ve heard of it, but have you used it? You can speak with or video-chat other users for free worldwide; do text messaging and it’s my go-to for sending large video recordings when files are too big for email. Facebook paid $19 billion for this app.

While it doesn’t come close to the functionality of WeChat, I use it all the time for group communication … plus, it is in English. I understand several business use cases are pending at the enterprise level.


If you’re not using at least one of these solutions to pay bills, send money to friends and family, or check out at a store 20 times faster than a chip-using credit card, you are wasting valuable time. Once you start paying this way regularly, you’ll begin to realize why handwritten checks will soon go the way of the rotary phone.

This holiday season, take a few minutes of your free time to play with apps that you’ve never tried before. I guarantee this activity will spark your creativity. It may even impress your friends.

So … Happy, appy holidays!