NextRadio is an app developed by
The app also enables phone users to receive visuals on their phone display that correspond to the broadcast, such as album cover art, advertisements or coupons and maps to an advertiser's local stores. Broadcasters participating in NextRadio encode that data in their broadcast signals.
Conversely, the app allows a wireless customer to interact via the Internet. For example, they could text to enter a radio station contest, give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on a song and purchase a song they just heard from Google Play.
While FM has traditionally had a strong place on the auto dashboard, the lack of two-way interactivity threatens to kill the medium. Adding the interactive component to listening allows stations to claim a higher value proposition, thus charge advertisers more for their commercials.
"The highlight for us even beyond the launch of the Sprint [NextRadio-enabled] smartphone is that a number of automakers are now seriously looking at NextRadio as a solution in the dash,"
"We think that's critical, because the major battleground for the American radio industry in the future will be preserving our preeminent place in dashboards," Smulyan said.
Exactly how NextRadio would interact with a vehicle's electronics is a bit fuzzy.
The newer generations of cars have color display screens of various sizes. Some of these radio receiver units connect with one's smartphone via Bluetooth.
But Brenner noted that many automakers have already announced plans to build 4G connectivity into the vehicles. He said
While NextRadio eats into smart phone's data minutes when connecting with the Internet, receiving the FM signal and certain visual information is free because it comes over the air.
"My job is to do everything it takes to make radio interesting again," said Brenner, the brainchild of NextRadio.
Another way of making radio interesting again has been
A handful of automakers including
But last month,
The new HD Radio-encoded signals are more capable in that they can push detailed maps of local traffic conditions to a car's color display screen, even to vehicles without satellite-enabled navigation systems.
Brenner said the traffic consortium reached deals with other automakers as a result of the new
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