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Apple Rejecting Radio Apps for iPhone

Apple Rejecting Radio Apps for iPhone

Nov 22, 2010 9:02 AM, Letter to the editor from Jim Barcus

Since April 2010, we have been creating iPhone apps for radio stations with great success. The stations that have ordered them from us love them, and it is one more way for the stations to get and keep their listeners. Not only can the listener rely on the app for entertainment, but he gets the local news, sports and weather for the local station that he likes to listen to.

On Nov. 10, 2010, we had 10 radio station apps rejected by Apple because Apple says “single station app are the same as a FART app and represent spam in the iTunes store” and Apple “will no longer approve any more radio station apps unless there are hundreds of stations on the same app.” We have had many more iPhone apps rejected since Nov. 10. Nov. 10 represents the date that Apple started rejecting apps. We have talked to many Apple reps about this, but they appear to have a script that they all read from saying that a single station app is not an enriching end user experience. We disagree since our single-station apps have had more than 37,000 downloads in the past month.

Apple implemented a new rule that says “2.20 Developers ‘spamming’ the App Store with many versions of similar apps will be removed from the iOS Developer Program.” Furthermore in the same document, Apple compares these apps that spam your App Store to Fart apps.

They are basically forcing all radio stations onto one app regardless of genre, age limitations, etc.

I have argued that radio stations do not want to be on the same app with all the rest of the stations in the same town and Apples answer was “Too Bad.” Apple even has a rule 3.1 in the App review rules that says ” 3.1 Apps with metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected.” Why if rule 3.1 is good enough for Apple, why do radio stations have to be forced to have its competitors on the same app?

Furthermore, Apple does none or very little advertising on the radio. It never needed to because of all of those radio stations that have an app for their listeners give out hundreds of FREE mentions of the iTunes App Store everyday to download their apps and the hundreds if not thousands of page hits per day of listeners that click on the “Available in the iTunes Store” logo directing them to get their apps.

I wrote an e-mail to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, and his response was “Sorry, we’ve made our decision.” I really don’t think he cares about radio stations at all. Everybody at Apple has the exact same stance. No more radio station apps. Every Pizza joint can have its own app. There are more than 900 Flashlight apps. More than 3,000 apps that do maps. But radio stations cannot have their own apps. Android Market and Blackberry World both like radio station apps for their platforms, but iTunes for some reason will not budge on what it calls spam applications.

If you want your own radio station app for your radio station, I encourage you to call Apple HQ at 408-996-1010 and lodge your complaint or send an email to Steve Jobs at Apple at [email protected].

I think after enough broadcast professionals complain and make Apple aware of the fact that radio stations are in fierce competition with each other and listener loyalty makes the listener want to only listen to his favorite radio station, Apple may change this rule.

Jim Barcus
President Broadcast Automation Software Custom Apps for the iPhone, Droid and Blackberry

Radio magazine follow-up: Since this was posted and a great deal of buzz ensued, Apple has quietly said it is still approving single-station apps. We are awaiting a direct response to Barcus’ concerns.

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