Clip Radio: Connecting Terrestrial Radio to Smartphones

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Sirius/XM satellite Radio with 25M paid subscribers, is getting beaten up by Pandora’s 60 million listeners while AM radios are becoming artifacts. But radio may be making a come back – on phones.

Clip Interactive is a new mobile application that’s available on Android and iOS that allows everything that you hear over terrestrial radio to be interactive for the listener.

You listen, hit the Clip button on their application, and connect with whatever content is playing on the radio: Music, contents, promotions, advertising, and spoken-word content.

Portland is the first city where Clip Radio has fully integrated nearly every radio station broadcast, and the company plans to introduce the app to several other markets over the coming months.

Mark Ramsey, a media stategist, has a good interview with Bill Freund, Clip’s Chief Revenue Officer.

Clip brings Shazam’s music recognizing capability to the broadcaster. It makes local radio interactive and attributable and brings the scale of the 240 million people who listen to the radio.

The Android and IOS app allows Portland radio listeners to:

  • Detect almost any radio station in Portland
  • View what has broadcast in the last hour (including songs, ads, contests, promotions and more)
  • “Clip” to save what you want
  • Interact with content (enter contents, redeem offers, download songs, etc.)

Clip is partnered with Alpha Broadcasting, which has 6 stations in Portland and Salem Broadcasting giving them ten partner stations who promote the Clip app or promote their station app with Clip capabilities.

For advertisers, Clip Radio insists that it can provide better ad tracking and more accurate listener numbers. For music labels it says the Clip Radio app can “increase listener engagement, sell tickets, solicit fan opinions, drive interaction with artists via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media networks.

Other approaches to bringing broadcast radio to mobile users include:

  • I Heart Radio, owned by Clear Channel Broadcasting, functions as both a music recommender system and a radio network that aggregates audio content from local Clear Channel radio stations. With 850 stations, Clear Channel is the largest radio station group owner in the United States.
  • Next Radio is an FM tuner application that receives FM radio broadcasts in your local area. Consumers can tune into their favorite local FM radio stations with Next Radio and get song and artist information to share online, or purchase straight from your phone. It’s mostly supported by Sprint, which gets a kickback from ad revenue.
  • Stitcher Radio, which claims to be the largest independent source of on demand radio listening, announced the launch of Listen Later for the Web, an embeddable feature for audio creators and podcasters to use on their websites to bring content to more listeners through a playlist. Visitors to the sites of radio producers can save episodes of popular shows and the audio portions of articles to their Listen Later playlists on Stitcher.

Pandora, the internet-based on-demand service, allows users to stream music and build virtual stations based on format and/or a particular song. The Pandora media player incorporates hundreds of different “musical attributes” and “focus traits” based on OpenLaszlo.

Apple’s iTunes Radio, unveiled at the 2013 WWDC, has similar features but is built directly into the iOS 7 Music app.

HD Radio is the trademark for iBiquity’s in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital radio technology used by AM and FM radio stations, using a digital signal embedded “on-frequency” immediately above and below a station’s standard analog signal.

Artist Experience allows broadcasters to embed album art, station logos and other graphic content. It’s incorporated into the digital bit stream and displayed on compatible receivers with screens.

Artist Experience is like a slide show, synched to the radio stream, displaying album art and advertising. Jump2Go and Emmis TagStation have products that insert the AE content, which is multiplexed along with the HD audio signal.

The NextRadio app works in conjunction with the Emmis’ TagStation middleware, where the audio feed is synched with visual elements. Sprint gets a portion of this ad revenue since the radio service is free and off the air.

You could make a case that the NAB blew the development of Digital FM radio and Digital TV. Mandatory digital FM tuners in cellphones would have made a huge difference for both listeners and broadcasters. But cellular operators would rather take the tuners out of phones and force you to pay for data.

NAB also stuck with the ATSC standard for television. The NAB sacrificed mobility that COFDM modulation could have delivered more cost/effectively to mobile users.

See: Radio Station Tour, TWIT: This Week in Radio Tech, World Radio Day, Digital FM Comes to Smartphones.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at 1:29 pm .

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