Version 2.1 update to the Public Radio Player is now live in the App Store. The PRX tech team has rewritten the code for the app from the ground up, resulting in greatly improved performance. Current users should be receiving an update notice in your app manager on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You can also download the new version from the iTunes App Store.
We’ve got some exciting additions to an already great public radio resource. Here’s what’s new in this version:
Over the next week, we’ll focus in on some of these features and discuss what they mean for the app. But for now, go and download the 2.1 update of the Public Radio Player and enjoy your weekend with public radio on-the-go.
New Update: Version 2.1.1 is now live in the iTunes store.
As with any major upgrade, we have run into a few post release issues. With your help, we have identified the problems and our developers are already working on them. We expect fixes to be made shortly and after testing, we will re-submit to iTunes for a 2.1.1 release.
Here are the known issues for version 2.1 of the Public Radio Player
We are working to push a fix for these issues as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.
We’re all set to submit the Public Radio Player v2.1 update to the iTunes App Store and we expect it to be available for download in a matter of days. I recently got my hands on a beta version of the update and can confirm that it includes some of the features most requested by users of the Public Radio Player.
Alarm Clock – Version 2.1 lets you set a public radio wake up call. Choose a station from your favorites list, set the alarm for the break of dawn, and get ready to rise and shine with the Public Radio Player.
Sleep Timer – Tossing and turning all night and counting sheep won’t help? No problem! Just put the new sleep timer to work. You can be lulled into dream time by the dulcet tones of Ira Glass or Terry Gross knowing your Public Radio Player will switch off at the appropriate hour.
Browser integration – Safari is now accessible within the Public Radio Player, allowing you to visit websites of the stations you stream.
Manage Favorites – You can decide which of your favorites goes to the top of the list. You can sequence your favorite stations and programs in any order you choose.
“Fresh from the Oven” Code – the PRX tech team has rewritten the code for the app from the ground up, resulting in greatly improved performance.
Video Tutorial – We recorded a great video tour (embedded below) of the Player and added a link to it within the app to help new users get to know the Public Radio Player.
Improved Search – Search results are now sorted by live stream and on-demand categories
As you can see, we’ve got some exciting additions to an already great public radio resource. We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as 2.1 goes live in the app store. In addition, an update notice will be automatically pushed to current Public Radio Player users, so keep an eye on your phone’s app manager.
There’s good news in store for Public Radio Player fans! We’re excited to announce renewed CPB funding for the project that will result in two major updates to the Public Radio Player during 2010. The first, version 2.1, will be released in the coming weeks, with a second update planned for the summer.
As you may know, the Public Radio Player iPhone app originated from a CPB-funded collaboration of APM, NPR, PRI, and PI, led by PRX. That first grant ended in the summer of 2009 following the release of version 2.0. PRX is once again leading the project and continues to work with Public Interactive as a source of station schedule data and on-demand programs from the NPR API.
For version 2.1, the PRX development team has rewritten the code from scratch to improve performance and introduce some great new features to the Player (we’ll be showcasing some of these in the days ahead). We’re currently adding the finishing touches to v 2.1 and will let you know as soon as it goes live in the iTunes App Store.
We’ve also been updating some stats for the Public Radio Player. The app now provides public radio fans 463 station streams and nearly 1,000 on-demand programs, with more added all the time. Since launching in the fall of 2008, the Player has logged a cumulative total of over 2.5 million downloads! Now, with the renewed funding for the project, we’re looking forward to making 2010 a great year for the Public Radio Player and all its fans.
When the Public Radio Player first appeared in the fall of 2008 (known then as the Public Radio Tuner), there were an estimated 10,000 apps available in the iTunes App Store. Today there are well over
100,000 140,000! And with this amazing growth, we are seeing more and more iPhone apps for public radio lovers. We recently updated our catalog of public radio apps and were delighted to find the list nearly doubled in size. There are now nearly 40 apps alongside the Public Radio Player in the iTunes App Store. If you’re a fan of the Player, peruse the list and try out a few. And if you know of any public radio apps we missed, tell us about it in the comments.
We’re not going to let the Public Radio Player rest on its laurels. With nearly 2.5 million downloads of the Player to date, we’ve got a lot of public radio fans to keep happy! The PRX tech team is hard at work on an update to the Public Radio Player that will include some great new features. Keep an eye on this blog during the coming weeks for more details.
Happy holidays to all. We’d like to take a moment to welcome those who unwrapped a new iPhone or iPod Touch this season. We like to think of it as receiving the key to the Public Radio Player kingdom.
Once you’re unpacked and charged up, we encourage you to download the app if you haven’t already.
Then, read on:
Getting Started with the Public Radio Player
For specific station and program recommendations, check out our Facebook page and these blog posts:
We’ll be rolling out some major performance and feature enhancements in the next couple of months, so be sure to download those app updates when iTunes tells you to. Subscribe to this blog for details.
There are many reasons to watch our brief video demo. Maybe you’ve been using the Public Radio Player but have a nagging feeling there are more features you’re not using. Maybe you have an iPhone or iPod Touch and are deciding whether the Player is for you (though frankly, it’s free, so we say give it a go). Or maybe you don’t have an iPhone or iPod but want to know what the hype’s all about.
All good reasons. So here it is. (Re-posted on YouTube to be viewable on iPhones and iPods, too.)
A few tweaks have been made to the Public Radio Player, and what version 2.0 taketh away, 2.0.1 giveth back: Your favorites list! If you had favorite stations saved on version 1.2 prior to upgrading to the new Player, they should be recovered with the 2.0.1 update. In addition, 2.0.1 will provide a faster start-up of the app and improved load times for both station streams and on-demand programs. And finally, you’ll find that search results return at a snappier pace. The update notification should be auto-pushed to your phone, so just check your App Store icon for updates and install 2.0.1 to enjoy a more finely tuned Public Radio Player. And let us know how the Player is working for you on our Give Feedback page – your comments have been a great help to the development of the Player. Thanks!
After downloading the Public Radio Player, you’re probably eager to listen to all the great live streams and on-demand programs now available in the new version. But upon launching the app for the first time, you may find the Public Radio Player takes a moment before it gets going. There’s a good reason for this: the Player is hard at work. To improve streaming performance, the Player stores station schedule information locally on your device. That initial data sync causes the first launch of the app to take a little longer. If you feel the load time is stalling out, a simple exit and re-launch of the app should do the trick. But if anyone has continued problems getting started with the Public Radio Player, please let us know on our Give Feedback page.
Another known issue with the upgrade to the Public Radio Player is the loss of saved Favorites lists. Unfortunately, the transition to the new version resulted in the deletion of any saved stations you had in the previous version of the app. This is the part where we say “our bad”, and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. But hey, why not take the opportunity to try out a few new stations as you rebuild your Favorites list? If you have a moment, please suggest a couple of stations you think fellow Public Radio Player users should sample and add to their Favorites. I’ll get the thread started in the comments. And please keep the feedback coming – your input is a vital part of making the Public Radio Player a great iPhone app!
Good news! We have submitted the connection performance update and it will show up in the iTunes App Store as soon as Apple approves it. Testing took a couple weeks longer than planned, so we want to thank you for your patience. This update will bring some real improvements to the way the Tuner handles stream connections. In beta testing of the updated Tuner, we’ve been able to hold a stream as we transitioned from Edge to 3G to WiFi connections without missing a beat.
Also, with this update, we are moving locations in the iTunes App Store. The Tuner will move from the American Public Media store to the Public Radio Exchange store. This will allow the PRX-based development team to more efficiently manage the app, and streamline the process for future updates to the Public Radio Tuner.
The new app location means we won’t be able to automatically “push” an update to current users. Instead, you will need to download what’s effectively a new app in a new store. We have worked to make this small extra step as easy as possible. Here’s how it will work:
The desktop icon of the “old” Tuner on your iPhone will be grayed out, so you won’t get the two versions mixed up. Next time you’re in iTunes doing housekeeping on your iPhone, you can toss the old version.
The “old” version of the Tuner will continue to function just fine, but it will no longer be supported and will not receive any further updates. So be sure to make the switch over to the new Public Radio Tuner. You’ll enjoy the improved performance, and we’ve got big plans for future updates.
The Public Radio Tuner is fast approaching 1.5 million downloads in the iTunes App Store! This week, we’re meeting with local stations to discuss plans for the upcoming release and how to spread the word to public radio fans and get them set up with the Tuner on their iPhones and iPod Touches.
The enthusiastic reception to the Tuner demonstrates that public radio audiences are willing and eager to embrace new platforms and new ways of enjoying their favorite programs. But when you strip away all the smart phone technology and application development, the Tuner has been a hit for one reason: it delivers the great content you know and love from public radio. Look at the photo above. Is the family gathered around the table because of the fancy radio? Or are they brought together by the story that’s on the radio. It’s the content that leads the way, and the technology plays an important but supporting role.
It got me thinking about a new report from the Center for Social Media about the relationship of technology to public media. The report, “Public Media 2.0”, frames the mission of public radio (and public media generally) as a vital part of the media landscape. More than offering just news and entertainment, public media plays a central role in facilitating our democratic society by creating an informed citizenry and guiding public conversations on important issues and ideas (If you doubt the claim, just think about your own driveway moments, or how many times you find yourself in discussions based on stories heard on public radio).
When introducing new technologies and platforms to public radio, it becomes important to consider how these channels can reinforce public radio’s core mission and invigorate the relationship with the audience. Technology for technology’s sake is not worth the investment. So whether you’re talking about smart phones or social networking sites, the question for public radio becomes, how can technology allow us to grow the impact of our work?