We Know What You're Listening To

Written Dec. 10, 2007 by Sean Ross in Internet Radio with 2 Comments

The press release was intriguing, not the least of which was because it quoted Edison Media Research. It was from a portal called RadioTime.com, promoting a new application that "automatically detects a listener's location and displays all local AM/FM radio stations and programs. This Local Radio search engine makes it easy for people to browse and listen to local programming on their PCs or streamed to wireless Internet radio devices."

I'm always a little unnerved by Web applications that let me know they can pinpoint my exact location. But I did log on. And the program did immediately know that I was in Somerville, N.J., and gave me the list of available stations. That list was pretty comprehensive with locals and New York stations (about 45 miles away), less so with Philadelphia stations (had a few, although I can get 80% or so of the market in the car), had some not all of the Allentown FMs (most come in here), and didn't have the handful of Jersey Shore stations that I hear on a regular basis here. On AMs, it actually erred a little bit in the other direction with some stations that I can pull in, but wouldn't consider listenable.

The application did list most of the HD-2s that went with the New York stations although, in reality, few of them actually travel as far as Somerville. It listed our local WAWZ's HD-2 station, but not its HD-3.

Overall, I would have preferred that RadioTime had erred a little on listing some of the stations that rimshot my location. After all, the reason I might use the application instead of my desktop radio is for one of the Philly stations that just miss coming in here.

That said, most of the radio station streams that I clicked through to from RadioTime.com did launch quickly. In that regard, it rivals the fastest way I've found to punch back and forth across a given market, RadioSherpa.com. (And the latter only works with three markets so far.)

(BTW, there's no connection between us and RadioTime. The quotes were used by permission and came from this year's Infinite Dial study in partnership with Arbitron on AM/FM listening levels.)

Reader Comments

Your 2¢, in chronological order — add your comment below.
1  Bill Moore on December 14, 2007 12:47 PM

Great feedback Sean, thanks. The infinite dial is an inspiration for me.

Can you search your zip code to see if that's more accurate? The system tracks calculated daytime reception strength by zip code. But your IP location isn't as precise. Still, it makes it simple to browse local radio with no questions asked.

The auto-local feature works in RadioTime powered connected products like the Squeeebox or Windows Media Center Edition.

Results include local repeaters, it works for every zip code, and for every market over 500K people across the globe, organizing 60,000 total stations.

We use the IP location feature for more than local radio. The info scores "fix-it feedback" user credibility (people in Singapore know local radio better than we do). Soon we'll use the info to filtering streams location restrictions.

One of the most important features that's not obvious is RadioTime uses location to pick a local station for syndicated programs. If you find Jim Rome and click play, we'll try to use the local affiliate (with local information and local ads).

2  Mike Preston on December 17, 2007 1:54 PM

Sean, part of RadioTime you did not mention is the fact that you can record streams with a small download they offer. This can be handy for catching "out of time zone" morning shows and the like.

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