“The app is ready. It works beautifully. But it’s thirsty for content.”
So says NextRadio LLC about its app, which Emmis Communications and other backers hope will be adopted as an industry-wide tool to enhance local listening via smartphones. In a blog post it urged other broadcasters to join the effort: “Now that the app is in stores and the consumer marketing push is underway, the most important focus is that broadcasters need to build out compelling content and take advantage of the interactivity available through the app.”
NextRadio uses a built-in tuner in the phone to let the user listen to local FM stations without spending his or her data plan; the headset or speaker wire serves as the receive antenna. The app also enables interactive enhancements when stations participate. Right now it is available on two Sprint smartphones.
The company released some early user numbers, following the soft launch of the app pre-installed on those models a month ago. It reports approximately 13,000 app downloads and 2,500 hours of listening through NextRadio, with a 14% activation rate on enabled phones; and it said users so far have tuned to 2,400 stations. “These numbers are climbing daily.”
It is urging all U.S. FM radio stations to, at minimum, allow themselves to be branded in the NextRadio guide and “Now Playing” screen by signing up for TagStation’s Free Logo Service. It hopes stations will sign up for a full TagStation license to deliver the enhanced services.
“The app is ready. It works beautifully. But it’s thirsty for content. As new users activate it on their phones, they’ll be able to find and hear their favorite local station, but that experience we’re all expecting — with branding, album art and interactive promotions — won’t be a reality without action on the part of the station.”
NextRadio plans to use a session and booth at the Radio Show in Orlando this week to highlight the project.
It also said Sprint launched a consumer marketing push Friday featuring promo materials pairing the HTC One phone model with JBL headphones in stores. Also, users of the two Sprint phones — the HTC One and EVO 4G LTE — will receive push notifications from their “Sprint Zone” encouraging them to download or activate the app. “Since NextRadio is compatible with a large quantity of pre-launch HTC Ones and EVOs, it’s a huge potential audience to activate,” the blog states.