Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What Song Was That?

Tom Taylor on Radio-Info this morning had this:
Your BlackBerry can tell you what song just played on the radio, thanks to a new free downloadable program named “Radio Companion”, developed by Nobex Technologies. The airplay data comes from suburban Philly-based Mediaguide, which tracks more than 2,700 U.S. stations.
Being a long time Blackberry user and proud owner of the a BB Curve I had to download the small piece of software to see what it could do. Easy to download and install and easy to use once on the Blackberry Desktop.

Mediaguide monitors a boatload of markets from the majors down to below the top 200. I chose Fresh in New York.

The program is running live and when the next song begins the screen automatically updates. You can also scroll back and see what has already been played. Hit select on the device and moments later a detailed email arrived.

In the email, all of the information about the station, the artist and song--plus a link to purchase the song from iTunes. Of course, that's linked with the Apple affiliates program; Mediaguide will earn a 5% commission on every song sold. [Local radio stations can do the same thing on their own websites]

Buried deep at the end of the press release for this product is the following:
Radio Companion does not yet stream audio from radio stations directly to BlackBerry smartphones. Nobex and Mediaguide anticipate adding this feature in late summer of 2008.
So by summer's end I could be streaming any of 2700 stations right on my blackberry from coast-to-coast? Seems ambitious. Seems somewhat unlikely. Seems exciting. A free platform for radio stations to get on mobile devices? Hmmmm We will have to watch this one and see how things develop.

What seems clear to me (and many others) is the mobile device is the radio of the future (almost today). Wouldn't it have been prudent for the radio groups to invest in this type of technology vs. the IBOC (HD Radio) technology which as every day passes seems less and less likely to gain any traction--despite valiant and hard fought efforts. So much controversy, many technical issues, and a buying public that has thus far rejected the idea that they need to buy a new radio. All they really want to do is get a phone that does everything and will fit in their shirt pocket.

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