“Everyone can do this.”
So says Emmis CTO Paul Brenner of the effort to make radio interactive with an activated FM chip in two models of Sprint HTC smartphones.
Since Sprint began selling the HTC One smartphones with embedded FM capability, approximately 3,300 stations have been tuned to using the NextRadio app, he told a packed Radio Show session here in Orlando.
“Because the over-the-air tuner is FM, we can measure what they do with the app,” said Brenner. That includes seeing how many people liked a song or dropped it, for example.
Since the launch in late August Emmis has seen 3,700 active users of the NextRadio app. At some stations users are listening for more than one hour. One guy in Hawaii listened for about six straight hours, he noted.
Sprint is “very pleased” with the NextRadio results. The company has noticed that app users are listening for an average of more than one hour per day, according to Sprint representative Mark Yarkowsky.
Starting last week Sprint introduced special signage and promotion related to the app, including a JBL headphone promotion. By the holidays the industry should see more Sprint phones rolling out that contain the NextRadio app as well as a “day in the life” of a Sprint phone user; that day will include FM, he said.
Radio needs to do its part. “We’ve made the first payment to Sprint. Now we have to start the process of rolling out inventory,” he noted, referring to the $15 million a year for three years in spot inventory that the radio industry committed to Sprint.
Emmis Chair/CEO Jeff Smulyan said, “Our goal is we want to be in 300 million phones.