How to Think About Your Mobile Strategy

February 3rd, 2011 → 6:13 pm @ // Comments Off

If you’re a media organization trying to figure out where to launch or grow your mobile presence — mobile web or native app? iOS or Android (or BlackBerry or Windows or…)? — we’ve got some thoughts for you.

Now, we’re well aware that the Player is iPhone-only, but we’re also well aware that needs to change. (And it will. Soon. We promise.) PRX, which develops the Player, also develops apps for public radio and TV organizations on iPhone, Android, and iPad.

Rarely, if ever, does someone come to us and say, ‘We need an iPhone/Android/iPad app, let’s move.’ Instead, they say, ‘We want to be on mobile, where should we start?’

After countless such conversations, we think we know a bit about mobile strategy. On the PBS MediaShift blog, PRX’s CEO Jake Shapiro has the first of a two-part series on mobile strategy for media organizations.

Blog &Public Radio Player &Research

Sharing the Spotlight

January 31st, 2011 → 5:24 pm @ // One Comment

Featured Live StationsWhen you launch the Public Radio Player, the first thing you see after the welcome screen is a list of Featured Live Stations. We put it there to keep your head from exploding by not showing you all 500 station streams at once. (If you actually want to try to explode your head, just tap the State button at the top of the screen for the full list.)

The latest list features music stations playing many genres, including rock, hip-hop, indie, jazz, bluegrass, classical, and folk. There’s news from stations large and small from East, West, North, and South. There’s a Spanish-language station, a Native American station, and a couple of community radio stations, too. And, of course, there’s our beloved REMIX Radio stream of particularly interesting public radio pieces.

So check out the newest arrivals to the Featured Live Stations spotlight. And let us know who you want included in future rotations.

(By the way, if you want to find a station that was previously featured, look them up by State. If you don’t know the state, post a comment and we’ll help.)

Blog &Public Radio Player &Stations and Programs

We’re Better Than Sliced Pizza

January 19th, 2011 → 6:05 pm @ // Comments Off

It’s been a nice day here at Public Radio Player headquarters. First, this lovely blog post came to our attention.

…The BEST app hands-down is this one a free app that lets me access live streaming content from hundreds of public radio stations 24/7, with a user-friendly interface that shows me what’s playing wherever, whenever, like the Jazz With Bob Parlocha that I’m listening to right now.

And cool features like a sleep timer and an alarm clock, so that I can drift off and wake-up to the perfect set of tunes. Truly, my one and only app, which reminds me….. enjoy

Then, we learned from TechCrunch that the Player is one of the top free iPhone apps of all time. Yes, there we are on Page Two of the 586-page list, higher than Pizza Hut, Moviefone, Wikipedia, Yahoo, CNN, and MSNBC.

We’ll take it! We’re not even trying to beat Page-One hits like The Bible, nor would it have occurred to us to compete with a toilet paper game (ok, maybe that one hurt a little). But we’ll gladly keep company with Yo Mama anytime.

We’ve had our days in the sun – we’ve done time as a #1 free app, and even more time as a top free music app. Just this past holiday season, the Player had 40,000 unique downloads between Christmas and New Year’s. So we’re happy to bask in our current status.

Blog &Public Radio Player

Leaping Into Your Living Room

December 23rd, 2010 → 2:28 pm @ // Comments Off

Yes, we’re AirPlay enabled.

This year the Public Radio Player made a great leap to multitasking and retinal display. We caught our breaths, and made another leap – into your entire house. Our developer, Andrew, opened his Christmas present early and behold: an Apple TV.

We think he was pretty excited about it, but he sounds even more excited by the fact that the Player is AirPlay enabled, and now he’s listening to his favorite public radio through his TV. Those would be REMIX Radio from PRX in the Featured Live section, and The Moth in Featured On Demand (great taste, Andrew!).

If you have iOS 4.2 installed on your iPhone/iPad/iPod, then you too can listen to the Player through your other AirPlay devices.

If you don’t have the gear, well… you’ve got one more day to add it to your gift list. Happy holidays, everyone.

Blog &Public Radio Player

Apple, Don’t be a Scrooge!

December 3rd, 2010 → 4:58 pm @ // 2 Comments

So many of you have asked how to donate to your favorite stations from within the Player, and unfortunately the answer is still, ‘Apple doesn’t allow it.’

We last wrote about this in June. Maybe because it’s now the season of giving, but more people are calling on Apple to change its no-donation policy.

On the PRX blog, we describe our dream scenario:

PRX’s Public Radio Player iPhone app is a great example of what such a change could mean. The app has had over 2 million unique downloads. Nearly 500 noncommercial stations across the U.S. have a page in the app. Imagine if each page had a Donate button that, with two or three taps, let you send money to the station.

Nonprofits need donations, and mobile giving could be a real breakthrough for them. The folks at Care2, who care about nonprofits, set up a petition. Please consider signing it. Thanks!

Update: The New York Times just reported on this issue, interviewing PRX CEO Jake Shapiro among others. The petition now has over 2000 signatures… be sure to add yours!

Blog &Public Radio Player

This Thanksgiving, Tune Out and Tune In

November 24th, 2010 → 2:03 pm @ // Comments Off

StoryCorpsIf these Northeast travel stats are any indication, the travelers among you will have a lot of time to fill this weekend. We encourage you to use the Player’s Local feature to tune into the stations of your departure and destination for travel updates.

If you start to sense that the security line/highway traffic won’t be moving for quite some time, check out our content recommendations for ways to cope.

Please, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands of traveling Public Radio Player users out there, share your listening ideas in the comments below.

You’ll get there eventually, or the guests will come to you. That’s when we suggest you *turn off* the Player and turn a microphone on your loved ones (or the less-loved interesting ones). Friday, November 26, is the National Day of Listening. The event’s organizer, StoryCorps, wants you to interview the people around you to get to know them better and record their thoughts for posterity.

Get inspired by listening to the StoryCorps podcast on the Public Radio Player, where it’s listed on the Featured page of On Demand.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Blog &On Demand &Public Radio Player

Can’t Stop Tinkering

October 25th, 2010 → 1:26 pm @ // One Comment

Right on the heels of version 2.1.3, known to historians as “The Multitasking Version”, comes version 2.1.4. When you install this latest update, here’s what you’ll get:

  • A fix for those of you who experienced the audio stream starting up during a phone call
  • A fix for a handful of station streams whose formats weren’t supported earlier
  • A new feature: See what’s playing now on the stations in your Favorites list (due to popular demand)
  • A nifty little streaming trick to save battery life

Plus a few other bug fixes and improvements. With each version, we aim to make the app better and better. So be sure to download those updates to get the full benefit of the Public Radio Player.

Blog &Public Radio Player &Version 2.1

Public Radio, Remixed. For Real.

October 18th, 2010 → 1:15 pm @ // Comments Off

REMIX Radio from PRX We know, with thousands of listening options on the Public Radio Player, you haven’t run out yet. But you should move this one to the top of the list.

We’re proud to announce a whole new kind of public radio listening, now available on the Player. It’s called REMIX Radio. It’s also from PRX.

REMIX Radio is “a 24-hour semi-formatless remix of the best public radio stories, amazing podcasts, fascinating interviews, found tape and intriguing sounds.” When host/DJ/Remixer-in-chief Roman Mars finds something interesting, it truly is. You see, public radio has a bit of an indie scene to it, believe it or not. And Roman lives there. Well, actually, he lives in Oakland, but he lives virtually in a world where public radio is hip, edgy, gripping, and revealing.

Until recently, you needed a satellite radio to catch REMIX on XM 136. In Spokane, WA, you could tune in on broadcast station KPBZ. Now, thanks to the Player, anyone with an Apple mobile device can hear REMIX.

Find it on the Live >> Featured page, at the bottom. Follow REMIX Radio on Twitter and Facebook, and let us know what you think!

Blog &Public Radio Player &Stations and Programs

Multitasking is Here!!! Hooray.

October 5th, 2010 → 11:24 am @ // Comments Off

We know, you’ve waited patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) to be able to do other things on your devices while listening to the Public Radio Player. Well, it’s here. If your device/OS combo can background other applications, it can now do that with the Player. This includes certain iPods as well.

Multitasking in the Public Radio Player Why did it take us so long? Well, while we were in the code, we couldn’t stop ourselves from making other improvements. Better one update than many! Not only has the alarm clock been fixed (some people were having problems with it), we made it better. We made significant updates to audio stream handling, which will improve connectivity and performance and support more formats. Supporting more stream formats means more stations will be able to join in the fun. That’s a win for you, too. (Stations, view all supported formats here).

So be sure to keep an eye out for the app update — to version 2.1.3 — and if you like it, consider giving us a nice review in the iTunes Store. Tell us all things, good or bad, on our Give Feedback page.

If you’re reading this while listening to the Player, let us know that too. :-)

Now go on and listen to more great radio!

Blog &Public Radio Player &Version 2.1

Apple’s Announcement: What’s in it for You?

September 2nd, 2010 → 12:39 pm @ // One Comment

Apple's Music Event
[indiekid / Flickr / cc]

Apple made several interesting announcements yesterday during its music event.

Here’s one that we’re particularly looking forward to: iOS 4.1. This update to the relatively new iPhone/iPod operating system releases next week, and we think it will improve the experience of 3G iPhone owners using the Public Radio Player and other apps, too. Simply put, iOS 4.0 does not play well with the older, 3G iPhones. For some people, this means your apps, including the Player, may move more slowly or crash more often.

While one never knows how a software update will work until it’s ‘out in the wild,’ we suspect many 3G owners are looking forward to next week. Public Radio Player users have something to look forward to as well in a couple more weeks: An update to the Player that will enable multitasking on your devices.

Blog &Public Radio Player