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.
Newly featured in the Player this week, from Ireland to New York City:
Freakonomics Radio from WNYC
“Just like the books, Freakonomics Radio will explore ‘the hidden side of everything.’ It will tell you things you always thought you knew but didn’t, and things you never thought you wanted to know, but do.”
Sound Opinions from PRX
“Each week, hosts and nationally respected rock critics Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis talk about pop culture and music industry news, interview artists and bands, review new record releases, and highlight their all-time favorite rock and roll.”
Documentary on One from RTE
“Award Winning Radio documentaries from Ireland’s national public service broadcaster, RTÉ.”
Pretty soon, PRX will set to work on a major update to the Public Radio Player. We’ll fix some bugs and generally improve things. Depending on how much time we have, we might even add a new feature or two from the many requested.
Hooray, you say? You can say more than that!
Tell us what you want for the Public Radio Player. We’ve created an online forum for stations and app users to share ideas and see others’ ideas, too.
Now, it’s not like you’re not telling us all the time what you want. And we’ve gone through your blog and Facebook comments and made a list of those requests. But here’s another chance to weigh in. So head to the forum and be heard. You have till June 1.
Stations: Feel free to invite your listeners to the forum, too.
We know, we know. Android users want the Player, too.
Oh, the drama.
Here’s the deal. PRX wants to develop the Public Radio Player for Android. We know the Android OS dominates in smartphone sales. And I know we’ve been putting out teasers for a while – sorry about that. We made big progress last summer, thanks to the Google Summer of Code. But the app is pretty complex, and there’s a lot left to do. The original grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting did not fund Android – at the time of the grant, Android went from non-existent to fledgling. Meanwhile, PRX expanded our mobile app offerings to public media organizations, including This American Life and several stations. We’re a small team, and we’ve been busy with that.
But that’s not the only reason. Since last summer, we launched the This American Life Android app, with the same design and features as their iPhone app. That was a cautionary learning experience. For one thing, the adoption of the Android app has been less than 10% of the iPhone app. This, despite the reams of requests PRX and This American Life received from desperate Android users right up until launch. That may be an extreme situation, but — and I know all you Android users will not like to hear this — it’s true that app use by Android users is currently lower than Apple iOS users.
Yet it cost no less to develop.
There’s more. The beauty of Android’s openness is also a headache for developers (and it hasn’t changed much since this post last year). It’s many different versions of an OS across thousands of different devices. Despite our best efforts at testing, the This American Life app on Android is, shall we say, challenging for us and our users. As of now, media playback varies widely across devices, and it’s likely we’ll have to build our own solution. Netflix just announced they’re handling Android’s lack of a media playback standard by releasing on only five devices for now. Five, out of hundreds.
Plus, it’s not just about developing an app, it’s about caring for it once it’s in the wild, and caring for you, our *ahem* vocal audience. Audio playback sourced from thousands of station streams and podcasts compounds the issue. That’s true of the iPhone, but it’s even more true of the Android.
Oh wait, there’s even more. We are gearing up for a development sprint on the iPhone soon (watch this blog for an invite to give us ideas). We want to get at bugs and UI pain points, and make improvements for stations and users alike. When we do move forward on Android again, we want it to have the newest version of the iPhone app. So yes, more waiting.
I have an Android phone. A couple of my colleagues do, too. We would love to have the Public Radio Player (I use it on my iPod instead). But for a small, non-profit organization with tons of awesome stuff going on, it’s going to take more time.
Ok, commenters. Let us know what you think. As you can tell from our Give Feedback page, we approve all but the very rude, and we welcome niceness, too.
Today, we took some time to dig into the Public Radio Player’s stats. We knew they’d make us happy (a key requirement for any Friday activity), but, well, WOW:
The Player has had well over 3 million UNIQUE downloads*, and it’s currently averaging 3000 new users each day!
Thanks, everyone, for your support of this app and the stations and programs that power it.
* In other words, the Player has been downloaded to over 3 million different devices since launch. Amazing.
April 20th, 2011 → 9:22 am @ Rekha at PRX // Comments Off
Thanks to backgrounding, you can listen to the Public Radio Player *and* do other things on your iPhone. Lots of other things… but how to sift through the 350,000 apps now in the App Store? You need picks from the experts – us!
Check out what we like on the iPhone and Android and tell us your own faves in the comments. (I couldn’t resist making an obvious plug for the Player; in truth, all of us PRXers with iOS devices use it regularly. For real.)
You’ve always been able to listen to This American Life, one of public radio’s most popular shows, on the Public Radio Player. It’s been there since the Player first launched. But some shows make you want to dive in for a more complete experience – full archives, fun extras. That’s why lots of you also have the dedicated This American Life app for iPhone, developed by PRX.
When the iPad came along, the folks at This American Life saw they could invite you in even deeper, by taking advantage of the tablet’s unique user experience possibilities. So PRX partnered with them again… and voilà! An iPad app that truly befits a marvelous show and a marvelous device.
February 22nd, 2011 → 3:49 pm @ emily // Comments Off
Newly featured in the Player this week, from London and New York City:
Science Weekly from The Guardian
“We’re not in the business of trying to bamboozle our audience with statistics or complex theories. We cover every corner of science. From interviews with Nobel Prize winners, through the science behind incest, to revealing the dialling code for the international space station (000-000).”
The Hackney Podcast from Francesca Panetta
“Award-winning highly crafted programmes taking the everyday stories of the London borough of Hackney to tell universal stories.”
Radio Diaries from NPR
“Radio Diaries works with people to document their own lives for public radio: teenagers, seniors, prison inmates and others whose voices are rarely heard. We help people share their stories—and their lives—in their own words, creating documentaries that are powerful, surprising, intimate and timeless.”
Radio Rookies from WNYC
“Since 1999, Radio Rookies has been conducting workshops across New York, in predominantly under-resourced neighborhoods, training young people to use words and sounds to tell true stories.”