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Earbuds, Lack of Data Top NextRadio App Gripes

Sprint to roll out five more phones with FM, says Emmis

Sprint’s in-store promotion of its smartphones with the embedded NextRadio app include signage near the display phones, Muzak audio promotions and staff trained to demo NextRadio. And in November, Sprint plans to roll out another five new NextRadio-enabled smartphones, according to Emmis.

“As customers begin to make buying decisions based on its availability, let’s not deliver them an incomplete experience,” say the NextRadio team on their blog.

At the Radio Show, Emmis said having to listen with earbuds or headphones to the NextRadio app on the Sprint smartphone models that have the embedded app was a common gripe, we reported at the time.

Now, the NextRadio app team shares others.

One customer tells the Google Play Store that the app is “sleek and nice looking,” but because none of the stations in his area are sharing the track information, “It’s not much better than the stock FM radio app that comes with my phone.”

A customer who’s in the U.S. Navy tells the NextRadio Customer Support Center that while the app is cool and the stations come in clear, it would be nice to “see what song is being played currently on that station.”

The NextRadio team says on its blog “feedback like this is heartbreaking,” and “not uncommon,” noting that users want to see album art and song data.

“It’s not enough to tell people that the content is coming. In the world of mobile apps, we have only one chance to make a first impression,” say the Emmis personnel, who urge more stations to set up interactive experiences for customers in their listening areas using the app.

Addressing the earbud/headphone issue, the team is still receiving feedback from customers who gripe about having to use those and says they didn’t account for people who open the app for the first time who don’t realize they are receiving an over-the-air FM broadcast. Even if that was understood, many of those first-time listeners didn’t realize they needed earbuds or headphones, state the Next Radio team. They’ve changed the messaging on the issue so if someone tries to listen without earbuds or headphones, future downloads or updates will include an alert explaining why the hardware is needed.

More than 4,400 FM stations have been tuned to from the app, up 20% from last month.