NABShowA year ago, we were getting ready to premier NextRadio at the 2013 NAB Show. We had no commercial product yet, a carrier deal too young to even mention out loud, and only a handful of people on board. What was encouraging then is that the folks who came by our booth and tried the app loved what they saw. We spent a good deal of time in that booth explaining that this wasn’t a streaming service – that our focus was bringing the literal FM broadcast to the smartphone – and that the success of the app and next steps depended on their participation.

Fast forward to today. The Sprint deal has introduced several commercially available NextRadio-enabled phones to the marketplace with many more on the way, and the industry has come together in an extraordinary show of support. Usage is on the rise, and feedback has been super. In a microcosm of things happening in traditional media, we think this is a pretty healthy pace. But the issue remains that the product still lacks much of the visual enhancement and interactivity a big marketing campaign would want to tout. Without that, awareness must rely on Sprint marketing, radio station promotions, industry advocates, and appearances like the NAB Show where we can put the product in front of people and generate that familiar excitement.

Though there are undeniable hurdles in the road, to avoid compromising any of our goals or drag out time to market, our focus remains steady and unshifting: Make FM radio available and engaging on the smartphone. We can’t clear all of those hurdles ourselves, but what we can do is continue to educate. The more people truly understand the value of the product, the louder our voice for smartphone FM chip activation will be, the stronger the consumer demand for an enhanced radio experience will be, and the greater the participation from broadcasters will be.

And guess what? That’s what our main message at the NAB Show will be.
More on that in a second.

By the Numbers

  • Over 270,000 app downloads
  • Over 8,100 FM radio stations tuned to from the app
  • Over 225,000 hours of listening through NextRadio
  • A 4.1/5.0 Google Play Store user rating

NextRadio at the NAB Show: The Message

FM radio on smartphones is here. It’s vital for local radio to be available everywhere our listeners are, but now it’s up to us as broadcasters to deliver a compelling experience.

The NextRadio app is an industry solution for hybrid radio on the smartphone that combines FM audio received through a phone’s built-in FM tuner with the internet to synchronize visuals, text, and other interactive enhancements with the broadcast. The radio industry has a deal with Sprint to activate the FM tuners in their smartphones and preload the NextRadio app, and they are in the process of rolling those phones out to market as we speak. NextRadio is NOT streaming radio and therefore uses much less data and battery charge than streaming audio.

TagStation is a cloud data service that links broadcast events from a radio station’s automation system with visuals, text, and other interactive enhancements for delivery to the NextRadio app as well as HD Radio™ devices, and future connected car dashboards. At this time, TagStation is the only commercially available system to help stations deliver hybrid radio.

TagStation Slingshot is a small piece of “datacasting” software that enables the delivery of automation data to TagStation in the event that a station’s current system isn’t supported. We created Slingshot so that stations wouldn’t need to worry about additional purchases to get started with TagStation. It comes free with your license.

Why get involved? Since NextRadio’s introduction to the marketplace, we’ve validated the wide-spread benefits of delivering a full hybrid radio experience to the smartphone. A radio station that delivers enhanced content to NextRadio garners more and longer listening sessions. The user has a richer, more connected listening experience with their station. And the wireless carrier/handset makers differentiate themselves by offering their customers a new way to offset the data and battery costs of streaming.

Our booth presence
NABShow2014MapVisit our booth #C1054 to demo the NextRadio app on commercially available smartphones from Sprint. Broadcasters can also demo TagStation data services and see how easy and intuitive it is to sync enhancements to their broadcast. Learn about levels of station participation, and even sign your stations up for Free Logo Service on the spot! But most importantly, we want to encourage broadcasters to begin delivering enhanced hybrid radio content with a full TagStation license which we’ll also be able to initiate at the show.

Important Links

Here’s how to find our booth on the exhibit floor as well specific sessions where NextRadio and TagStation will have representation.

NextRadio #C1054

Sunday April 6th at 1:00pm
Integrating Data Services for Enhanced Radio Broadcasting: NextRadio & HD Radio

presented by Ben Husmann, Director of Product Development, NextRadio + TagStation

Monday April 7th at 1:00pm
Hybrid Radio: Making it Happen at Your Station

Moderated by Kevin Gage, EVP & CTO, NAB
Panelists include Paul Brenner, SVP, CTO Emmis Communications
Scott Burnell, Global Lead, Business Development & Partner Management, Ford Motor Company
Joseph D’Angelo, SVP Broadcast Programs and Advanced Services, iBiquity Digital
Paul Shulins, Director of Technical Operations, Greater Media Boston
and Tim Clarke, Director of Digital Audience for Radio, Cox Media Group

Wednesday April 9th at 2:15pm
Hybrid Radio/NextRadio

part of Digital Strategies Exchange for Radio
with Paul Brenner, SVP CTO Emmis Communications
and Skip Pizzi, NAB Senior Director New Media Technologies

So stop on by. We really look forward to seeing you there, and we’ll talk again after the NAB Show about MORE PHONES! Stay tuned.

This content is also available in: Spanish Portuguese (Brazil)