California-based RadioFlag describes itself as “live social radio for a new generation of listeners.” The company, which launched in 2011, is adding international radio to its offerings and will also give call signs to stations that do not traditionally utilize them.
In the United States, the FCC typically assigns four call letters to radio stations, however, many countries around the world do not issue call signs.
RadioFlag prefers that international stations work with them to choose a call sign that fits the station’s branding objectives. The company offers three to five character call signs using a combination of both letters and/or numbers, and a three letter ISO country code will follow the new call sign.
For example, “Yona Ke Yona Radio” broadcasts from Johannesburg, South Africa, and brands itself as “Giving local music a platform, for unknown South African artists.” RadioFlag assigned the station call sign: YKY-ZAF.
RadioFlag will also add an “I” to call signs for international Internet stations, signaling that the station does not have a terrestrial signal, a method that they already employ for online-only stations in the U.S.
For example Scratch Radio, an online student radio station broadcasting from the campus of Birmingham City University, in Birmingham, U.K., has been issued the call sign iSCRA-GBR.
Reserving call signs for these stations also serves to secure call letters for U.S.-based college radio stations, many of which are losing their terrestrial signal due to funding cuts. Reserving call signs ensures that, should they be forced to broadcast online only, their station branding will continue.
“Live Radio is dynamic, stimulating and interactive, so I think by making international radio easily accessible to a global audience, we can help empower these DJs to better inform, educate, enlighten and entertain,” said Anthony Roman, founder and CEO.
“We can’t wait to introduce listeners to international DJs and their local perspectives, which will surely open their ears to not only emerging artists and a fresh sound but also new cultures entirely.”
The app is currently available for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile. RadioFlag says that its BlackBerry release has been popular outside the U.S., with users tuning in and interacting with stations in both their home countries and in the U.S.