Single Station Apps Have Limited Value

You probably caught the hullaballo about Apple rejecting single station radio apps forevermore, which turned out to be a false rumor. In fact, Fred Jacobs of JacAPPS, told us via Twitter yesterday morning that one of the apps they developed for a station in Chattanooga was approved.

Dan Anstandig reports in his weekly Radio3D that “Trudy Muller, an Apple spokesperson, told Radio3D, “There are many unique radio apps on the App Store, and we look forward to approving many more. One developer has attempted to spam the app store with hundreds of variations of essentially the same radio app, and that is against our guidelines.'”

Other reports have it that Apple has become a little more discriminating in their app approval process.

Whether Apple is or isn ‘t approving single station apps is only part of the point here, and this should be taken as a shot across the bow by broadcasters. Building an app that is simply a stream starter for a simulcast is not a great idea. Listeners aren’t likely to love it, and maybe Apple won’t either.

I don’t really know what was wrong with the apps that DJBApps recently had rejected, except that they reportedly did not provide an enriching end user experience. So if you’re going to invest in an app for your single station, make it a good one that gives a person something to play with, look at, interact with. Hire someone who can put some of your station’s personality into the app. But don’t expect the app to bring you a whole new audience, this is mainly a tool for your current listeners to use to listen on their smartphones.

To expand their audience, stations should be working together and building apps that feature lots of broadcast stations. How about a Philly or Boston Radio App that offers all the stations in an area along with news and information, restaurant and shopping guides, and more? A portal to area radio stations!

Pandora became famous because of the enormous popularity of its iPhone app. One click and the listener has access to millions of listening choices. The radio industry should be working on a way to offer its content cohesively that makes listening to their stations as appealing as that…

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2 responses

  1. Jennifer, I have to differ with you on this one. And 300 radio apps and 5 million downloads suggests a lot of support for single-station apps for consumers. For broadcasters, they’re a branding dream. What’s the better play – KIIS-FM with it’s own app OR stuck with 500 other stations on iheartradio? I know where I would want my station to be. Thanks for the forum and the good coverage.

  2. Hi Fred! I think single station apps are fine, and I have recommended them to stations in the past also. My points are that they have to do more than simply start a stream, and their value is limited. I don’t think that building multi-station apps that are more portal like means that stations should not have their own as well.

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