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Emmis Talks With Wireless World for FM, HD Smartphone Chip and App Progress

‘We’re trying to exploit what they’ve already put in the phone,’ says Emmis CTO Paul Brenner

Emmis Communications CTO Paul Brenner has shared more details about the company’s smartphone app development — that’s NextRadio, the receiver app for analog FM and HD Radio.

The company is talking to handset makers, carriers, operating system developers and chipmakers. “We’re at different levels of progress with each of those organizations. We’re trying to get an FM chip standardized and build an app on top of that,” said Brenner.

Brenner and Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan are working in tandem on the issue of persuading carriers to either embed FM chips or activate existing chips in their devices, with Smulyan handling the regulatory and broadcast industry support portion and Brenner staying on the business and technology path. “We’re trying to exploit what they’ve already put in the phone,” says Brenner, referring to devices that already contain an FM chip.

Emmis is calling NextRadio a hybrid radio smartphone app, meaning FM analog, plus Internet capability. However its pitch to carriers is consumers can use the app to listen to over-the-air radio without incurring data charges for streaming.

With the NextRadio app and its TagStation cloud services, Emmis says stations will have the necessary platform to synchronize on-air audio with Internet-ready data to manage and deliver an interactive artist and advertising experience.

Some six major radio groups are implementing the HD Radio Artist Experience with Emmis products, according to Brenner.

Bonneville, CBS Radio and Entercom are three of the groups using TagStation for AE implementation and development of FM radio in a smartphone.

Emmis is beta testing the NextRadio app in preparation for a launch sometime in 2013.