Emmis to launch NextRadio app for smartphones in 2013


Emmis CommunicationsEmmis is building upon its TagStation product by introducing “NextRadio,” a new receiver app for FM and HD Radio-enabled smartphones. Remember, Emmis recently completed the sale of its Emmis Interactive business unit to Marketron, but retains control of TagStation and NextRadio.

NextRadio is being marketed to the wireless industry as an app that represents the best over-the-air hybrid radio listening experience available on smartphones. The product, specific to local FM and HD Radio, allows consumers to listen to local radio without using their data plan for pure internet streaming. It turns local radio into an app-like experience, using TagStation’s Artist Experience and Ad Experience delivery to listeners–in the dash or on a smartphone. That means on-screen album art, ads, song info and song library importing.

Specifically, NextRadio uses the phone’s data channel (RDS and HD Radio) to deliver the interactive artist and ad experiences. Features include enhanced synchronous ad types, song tagging capabilities and social integration. It allows users to search the radio dial either by frequency or by music format. They can also save their favorite channels to on-screen app presets.

Advertisers get fully synchronized hybrid radio ads, increasing the value of the ads and the opportunity for higher listener engagement. They typical radio spot has the ability to be interactive in real-time by supplementing the broadcast signal with the data back-channel.

All ads can be engaged with at the time of listening or at any point afterwards through various features available on the phone, such as recently played, saved content, etc.

“NextRadio leverages the efficiency and scalability of broadcast radio enhanced by the phone’s data channel to deliver an interactive artist and ad experience,” said Paul Brenner, Emmis CTO. “With other features like enhanced synchronous ad types including SMS integration and couponing, song tagging capabilities, and social integration, NextRadio stands out as a truly innovative mobile experience.”

NextRadio is in final beta testing preparing for 2013 launch on several smartphones and carrier networks.

RBR-TVBR observation: The good news is this will likely give Smartphone makers more reason to add FM chips. When the radio listening experience blends with the app experience of their phones, it’s much easier to give thumbs up to integrating the chip. It’s great for broadcasters as well, because it brings their advertisers a very similar (if not better) online offering–as well as audio. The pitch is all that more appealing—AEs can just bring in their smartphones and do a quick, eye-opening demo.