Phone Apps Are Coming to Radio's Rescue

Radio stations have seen their online listening skyrocket lately because of -- believe it or not -- cell phones. Stations have developed smartphone apps and are discovering that listeners love them.

USA Today reports that, "Local stations are racing to create software applications -- called apps -- and appealing talk and music programming to help them reach the burgeoning number of consumers who see their iPhones, BlackBerrys and Droids as portable entertainment devices."

The story continues:

"With the help of apps, smartphone users can listen to live broadcasts from hundreds of radio stations as well as services such as Pandora that offer music tailored to the listener's taste.

" 'It's extremely meaningful,' Clear Channel Executive Vice President Evan Harrison says. About a year after 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 says. 'That's a modest goal.' "

Radio stations need the help. Earlier this week, Citadel, the nation's third largest radio group owner, filed for bankruptcy. The action involves such mammoth stations as WLS in Chicago, WABC in New York, KGO in San Francisco and KABC in Los Angeles.


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    Al Tompkins

    Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world.


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