Pew Research writes "Digital Drives Listener Experience" for radio

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 1:00pm

As "technology is turning what we once thought of as radio into something broader -- listening" (as Pew wrote in 2006), online-only and satellite radio (while still a small share of overall radio revenue) have the more positive financial forecasts for the long-term.

That's from an overview essay of the "audio" section of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism new annual report on the state of the news media. The essay is called "Audio: Digital Drives Listener Experience." (While the study focuses mostly on news content, it certainly isn't limited to that, discussing Pandora, Spotify, and the Intenret radio Fairness Act, among other topics.)

Pew also concluded that NPR "may have positioned itself for the digital age better than other news radio." On-air listening declines as NPR may very well be partially the result of robust digital offerings on the web, podcasts, and mobile apps.

One digital platform that's failing is HD Radio. Now, more stations are actually dropping their HD signal than are adopting the technology, and there are fewer HD signals on the air than a year ago.

See more of the Pew study here. There are more charts from the paper here.

New iHeartRadio feature adds local news content to Custom Stations

Monday, March 11, 2013 - 12:10pm

Clear Channel today introduced a feature to iHeartRadio that allows listeners to add local news, weather, and traffic content to their "Custom Stations" streams.

The new feature is called "Add-Ins," and uses content from Clear Channel broadcast properties.

"Custom Stations" is the iHeartRadio feature that allows listeners to generate personalized audio streams based on their personal music preferences (a la Pandora).

Once the listener has enabled the feature in Account Settings, "Add-Ins" will automatically pinpoint their location -– or users can set an alternate location by entering a zip code under the manual "Add-Ins" settings.

Stitcher reviews news of 2012 with Year in Sound

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 1:15pm

Podcast aggregator Stitcher analyzed compiled listening stats, social media metrics, and transcription data of the news clips it carried in the past year to identify the most popular and viral content of 2012. It's now assembled the information as Stitcher's Year in Sound 2012.

Listeners can listen and recall the year's biggest news events month-by-month online and via the company's mobile apps.

See Stitcher's Year in Sound here.

This is real: New audio app features humans reading the news

Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 12:45pm

A company called SoThree, founded by three former Google engineers, has unveiled a new smartphone app for the 94 million or so in the U.S. who can't read a newspaper while driving to work. It's called Umano ("human" in Italian).

Umano's team chooses about 15 news stories a day from the web, which its team of voice actors reads and records (material that's "geeky (which is code for techy/gadget stuff), scientific, entrepreneurial, and inspirational," according to The company hopes to expand its coverage to 100 articles a day over the next six months.

Now, if the software could incorporate local weather, traffic, and sports, they might really be on to something novel!

PandoDaily's (pretty unironic) coverage is here.

Stitcher announces finalists in podcast awards

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 2:10pm

Stitcher, which aggregates podcasts and non-music radio and audio content, has announced the finalists for its first annual Stitcher Awards (first covered in RAIN here).

News organizations dominate the nominations. NPR received the most nods, with other top finalists including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, KCRW, BBC Radio and The Wall Street Journal.

Stitcher picked six finalists for each of 20 different categories, based on the more than 55-thousand listener votes. Through November 5th, listeners can vote for their favorites from among the finalists. Stitcher will name the winners in December at the first annual Stitcher Awards ceremony, to be held in San Francisco.

You can see a list of all the finalists here (note, you'll need to "Like" Stitcher on Facebook to see the nominees and vote).

Mobile app Buzzam creates "custom radio" of sorts by combining music with local news and social media content

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 1:10pm

Buzzam Radio (at is a new mobile app that can add local news and weather to your music listening (either local files or services like Spotify and Rdio), plus other nonmusical content (think Twitter and Facebook updates) to create "an audio stream customized for each user."

Buzzam, according to president/COO Greg Starling, was made in response to the shortcomings of Internet radio. "The problem with Internet radio services is that they omit critical elements of radio, like news, weather, commentary and other entertainment."

The app is in the iTunes store (there's no desktop version of the service). According to, news options include BBC, NPR, CBS, NBC and Fox. You can also add podcasts to the stream. A "robot voice" reads your social media updates and local weather.

Read more in Wired here.

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