Sprint is ready to include FM capability in some models of its smartphones.
The carrier said it will begin installing the NextRadio application in several smartphone models over the coming years. The first two models to include FM capability are the HTC One and HTC EVO 4G LTE. Those launch tomorrow, Aug. 16 at Sprint’s website.
Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan said the announcement is “a credit to the entire radio industry, which has unified to make this happen.” He’s excited about the audience and advertiser engagement opportunities possible with the FM chip.
Emmis and Sprint now consider the NextRadio smartphone app to be officially launched. The app delivers an interactive artist and ad experience to FM-enabled smartphones.
Data for the NextRadio app is supplied by TagStation, the cloud-based engine that offers stations the ability to upload branding images that will display as default artwork in the NextRadio app, as well as call letters, format, station name and slogan. This basic, free level of station integration is open to all radio stations and creates a compelling experience within the app as the user is able to quickly associate their local stations with familiar visuals while browsing, according to Emmis.
If a station does not register at TagStation, listeners using the NextRadio app will still be able to hear the radio station but may not see the station’s logo displayed.
“Whether the station is large market, medium market, small market, commercial or noncommercial, this free service will provide listeners with a visual radio listening experience on the FM-enabled smartphone. Radio stations no longer have to add the cost of Internet streaming to get local FM radio on a mobile device,” said Paul Brenner, Emmis’ chief technology officer and president, NextRadio. “Adding full TagStation capabilities allows radio stations to offer listeners features like album art and artist information, listener feedback, song tagging capabilities, enhanced advertising options and social integration, which dramatically enhance the listening experience.”
More than 1,500 stations signed up for the free services offered by TagStation and thousands more are expected following today’s product launch, says Emmis. Some of the radio groups that have signed up include Beasley, CBS Radio, Entercom, Greater Media and Hubbard.
To see a demonstration of the NextRadio app, go here.