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Emmis Testing Radio Smartphone App for 2013 Introduction

NextRadio builds on TagStation to give consumers to listen to over-the-air radio without using their data plan for Internet streaming.

Emmis Communications is preparing to introduce a radio smartphone application for analog FM and HD Radio for 2013.

The product builds on the company’s TagStation software. Emmis recently sold its Emmis Interactive division to Marketron, but retains control of TagStation, the cloud-based engine that supplies data for the smartphone app and digital dashboards.

Called “NextRadio,” the new app is being marketed to the wireless industry as a way for consumers to listen to local radio without using their data plan for Internet streaming.

Emmis Communications CTO Paul Brenner says the app leverages the efficiency and scalability of over-the-air radio “enhanced by the phone’s data channel” to deliver an interactive artist and advertiser experience.

Other planned features include enhanced synchronous ad modes like SMS integration and couponing, song tagging capabilities and social integration.

Brenner and other radio executives have been saying to get the attention of wireless carriers, radio needs to innovate and deliver a superior and consistent user experience; the wireless industry is “responding positively” to the combination of TagStation and NextRadio, according to Brenner, who also noted with the new app, consumers can use their phones to receive news and information during a crisis, like Hurricane Sandy.

NextRadio is in final beta testing in preparation for a launch on several smartphones and carrier networks.