Made For Each Other: Radio and Smartphones

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In the two years I’ve been authoring this blog, mobile has been a constant refrain. In that time, we have watched iPhones and Blackberrys saturate the population, bringing with them unprecedented connectivity and bandwidth. Close on their heels have been the apps that bring radio to these users, broadcast becoming as accessible as the now nearly ubiquitous 3G connections that cover the U.S.

I’m an iPhone user myself, and my radio listening has increased dramatically since the introduction of a few key apps, some station specific and some more generalized. The real point is that I can get radio anywhere my phone can get a signal, allowing me to tune in to the stations back home in New Orleans from my living room (or the bus, or the coffee shop, etc.) here in Cincinnati.

This game changing transition, the rise of the smartphone, is doing exactly what I’ve predicted all along — bringing radio to new listeners and evolving with the new technology rather than against it. As more and more radio concerns get apps into distribution, the numbers keep on increasing. Just look at the info as presented in this recent article in The Courier-Journal:

About a year after Clear Channel, the No. 1 radio company introduced its iHeartRadio app for iPhones, phone users account for 10 percent of its digital audience.“We expect to at least double that number” in 2010, he said. “That’s a modest goal.”

The company attracts about 28 million unique visitors a month, up 30 percent from last year.

David Goodman, CBS Interactive Music Group president, also is upbeat.

“In the last seven months, our streaming audience has doubled,” he said. “It’s a rocket ship in listenership.”

It’s always a pleasure to find one’s prognostications proven right, and it’s a joy to live in a time when the tech is advancing and evolving so quickly. The world five years from now will bear little resemblance to the one we know today, and looking at trends like these is what makes me confident of radio’s place in that future!

Image: George “Loki” Williams, screencapped for this article

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