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We worked closely with the Radiolab team and design gurus One Trick Pony to build a beautiful app that also does things. Listen to the entire archive, read the blog (yick alert: latest post is about eating cicadas), and even submit audio, text, or images in response to various assignments.
Public Radio Music Month is taking April to celebrate local stations and the music they play: jazz, classical, indie, country, blues, folk, pop, hip hop (yes, hip hop), from all over the world, the US, and their local music scenes.
The Public Radio Player app has hundreds of public radio music station streams. The latest version of the app lists them by Format under Stations & Streams. Or look for the Music category in Programs & Podcasts.
Some of our faves:
You’ll find the highest music to talk ratio in music streams like All Songs 24/7 from NPR, AllDayPlay from Youth Radio, and Eclectic24 from KCRW in LA (you’ll probably love KCRW’s Music Mine iPad app, also by PRX). All on the Player.
We can’t possibly encapsulate public radio’s wide music variety in one short list. Tell us *your* favorite public and community radio music stations. Or, while you’re listening on the app, tap Share. In honor of this special month, add #thankspublicradio to your tweet so your favorite stations feel the love.
We understand that ‘downloading app update alerts’ might not be on your daily to-do list. But trust us, you want this one.
Welcome to the new and improved Public Radio Player app for iPhone.
It’s been four years since the launch of the original Public Radio Player iPhone app (under another name we won’t mention because it has lingered much too long). We stopped counting downloads at 4.5 million, and even now the app has 21,000 active users each day. Public radio stations and programs continue to add or edit their listings, often at the request of enthusiastic Player users.
Thank you, stations, programs, and people everywhere, for your incredible support.
So the Player has been durable. But we know better than anyone that it could use a major update, and we’ve hinted at one for a while. Well, now we’re just weeks away from launch. We are so excited about this. We just gave participating stations (i.e., the vast majority of public radio stations in existence) an early heads up, especially because we need info from them to enable new features.
Stations, if you want your news and Twitter feeds and/or a donate button (yay!) on your Player page, go here.
Stations, producers, and true fans can view a recent webinar with a close look at the new app.
Or just gaze upon these preview shots. That way, you’ll know what to look for when you download the update. We’ll post a launch announcement here and on our Facebook page.
We get this question all the time. Sometimes, the asker will add, “At least just a ballpark?”
It’s a tough one. If we answer, “Anywhere from $3000 to $300,000,” we sound evasive or just plain annoying. But it’s true: A mobile app, like any piece of software, costs as much as it takes to build it with the features and quality you want. A seemingly simple feature can be expensive if the underlying systems and integrations required to run it need work, too. A magically complex feature might be cheaper if there’s a good out-of-the-box solution with a straightforward set of hooks into the app code.
And that’s just for developing a product with a clear design and goal. If you want to push the boundaries of what an app can do, or how an app might represent your organization or serve your audiences, there will be some building, trying, unbuilding, and rebuilding. Personally, once I accepted that unraveling my knitting is an integral part of the knitting process, my projects (read: scarves) went more smoothly and turned out better. But they also took more time.
Fortunately, I don’t knit within a budget of time or money. Apps, however, are very much tied to that reality. We understand you need answers, and there are ways to approach this. Below are a few posts that say it well. If you want more, talk to us – we can give you benchmarks more specific to the public media apps we’ve built. We can guide you on what app you might get for your budget, and ways to fund an app project, too.
Last year, we worked with KPBS in San Diego to launch an iPhone app. Now, they’re on Android, too. Both apps run on our station app platform, which offer efficient, affordable development and improved performance thanks to a codebase that powers several apps at once.
While KPBS isn’t our first Android station app (that distinction goes to WQXR in New York), it’s the first on our latest version of the platform. It has all the features of the iPhone app while being a truly Android experience, using the design guidelines and conventions that people with Android devices expect.
A highlight of this approach is an adaptive design, meaning that the app stretches and shrinks to fit a variety of screen sizes and resolutions, from smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy to tablets like the Nexus 7. So more people can enjoy the app – and KPBS’s content – as it was meant to be.
Keep an eye out for more public media stations coming to Android soon via our platform. And get in touch if you want to learn more.
It’s been a busy summer here at PRX. True, that statement applies to every summer since our founding, but this one was SO busy that we left an incredible announcement off of this blog.
Radiolab, the beloved show about “science, philosophy, and human experience,” now has an app truly worthy of its unique style and spirit. If you have an iOS or Android device, you can experience it for yourself.
Of course, it’s highly likely this is old news and you’ve been enjoying the app since June. Just thought we’d mention anyway.
When PRX worked with KCRW last year to design and develop the Music Mine app for iPad, we knew that there was a reason we spent time and effort building a reusable API — we just didn’t know that we’d be building a Spotify app with it.
Last fall, the popular music-streaming service Spotify announced that they were creating a platform for developers and music-focused companies to create apps that would be available in their desktop music software. Basically it’s the ability to have an app inside of an app — in our case Music Mine inside of Spotify.
KCRW recently reached out to PRX, and within a week, we had conceptualized, designed, built, and delivered a fully functional Music Mine Spotify app to KCRW. We got the word from KCRW late last week that the app had been approved. We’re excited to be the first public media app on the Spotify platform and are even more excited to see the analytics and numbers once they are available.
If you use Spotify you can click on this link and it’ll install the app for you.
Matt & The PRX Tech Team
With so many public media fans and newbies engaging with us on mobile, it seems only natural that they should be able to donate to their favorite stations and programs on mobile, too. It follows that Apple would make this easy to do. Not so. PRX’s CEO Jake Shapiro has spoken out on this issue, but it hasn’t changed yet.
Android doesn’t have Apple’s explicit restrictions, but it does have other barriers to frictionless donation.
PRX has explored solutions for as long as we’ve been building mobile apps. See a few in action in our station apps.
But there’s much room for innovation. Join PRX’s Technical Projects Director Matt MacDonald and other user experience experts from public media and beyond for a working session, “Pledge Your Support for Mobile”. It will be at the Integrated Media Association (IMA) conference on March 8, just before SXSW. This session is for UX, tech, membership, development, and anyone else who wants to channel our audiences’ mobile engagement into support for public media.
When we set out in early 2010 to make a mobile app with WBUR Boston, iOS — the operating system that runs on iPhones, iPods, and iPads — was the natural choice of platform. It still had far more users than Android, Google’s mobile operating system, and the iTunes App Store was more user-friendly than the Android Market. Also, the fragmentation of the Android platform across hundreds of different devices seemed to guarantee an unreliable experience for all but people with the most advanced devices.
So we launched WBUR on the iPhone, and we reused much of that code to develop high-quality, affordable apps for several more stations. We call this master codebase the “PRX station app product“, with built-in features and things stations can customize.
Like so much in digital technology, things change pretty fast. By mid-2011, Android device adoption was actually ahead of iOS, the Android Market was starting to improve significantly, and the platform was more stable across more devices (though it still has a ways to go, especially for audio/video playback).
In other words, it was time.
Today, we’re proud to announce the first station app for Android: WQXR Classical from New York Public Radio. Like the iPhone apps, WQXR for Android is based off of a PRX station app product developed specifically for Android.
Thanks to the efficiency of this master codebase, and the growing demand for Android apps, you’ll be seeing more public media stations coming to Android soon.