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RAIN 3/5: High praise for NPR from UK digital expert

Posted on: 03/05/2010

NPR’S iPHONE APP, ONLINE STRATEGIES HELP IT “PUNCH WAY ABOVE ITS WEIGHT

NPR is the closest that U.S. radio gets to BBC radio,” writes Internet radio expert James Cridland in a recent blog post. However, “I’d rather the BBC was rather more like NPR: because NPR is doing everything right.” Specifically, as Cridland found in speaking with NPR’s senior product manager for online communities Andy Carvin, NPR is taking the lead in digital innovations.

One example is their iPhone app, which is already generating 33% of NPR’s traffic and boasts an average listening time of 15 minutes (compared to 2.5 minutes on the web). It includes live and on-demand audio, as well as full text articles (RAIN coverage here).

NPR also makes their content search-engine-friendly by transcribing their segments, then pairing the text to audio and leaving it online. Indeed, content from as far back as 2001 is available. User-generated content is also a focus for NPR, as is opening their content to others through a “flexible and content-rich” API.

“Perhaps one of the benefits of NPR is that it’s not too large, so can innovate without being criticized,” writes Cridland. “Perhaps it’s also comparatively strapped for cash, so is forced to innovate to make best use of its content.” In any case, “it’s already clear that NPR is punching way above its weight.” Find Cridland’s full blog post, which outlines even more of NPR’s online successes, here.

RADIO SERVICEHORDESOURCESMYSPACE TO DELIVER 60 SECOND SONG CLIPS

Music site We Are Hunted has launched a “real time radio” service (here), pulling data from what MySpace users are listening to right now. Basically, as Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk reports, the service “queues up whatever artist has enjoyed the most plays on MySpace within the previous 60 seconds,” then plays a 60-second clip of a song from that artist. The music itself doesn’t come from MySpace but from “servers scattered around the web.”

The service comes in two flavors: as an in-browser MySpace application (“assuming you still remember your MySpace password”) and a web stream for iPhones and Android devices. Van Buskirk has details on the MySpace application here, but I tried out the iPhone stream. It’s not an application that you download, rather a Safari stream. This means you can run leave the music playing in the background while you run other apps, but it rules out any album art or metadata.

That’s not too much of a problem though, as an almost-real-sounding automated voice declares the artist and song title before every clip. And at one minute each, the songs really are “clips.” As Van Buskirk writes, that makes We Are Hunted “more useful as a discovery method than as a full-on radio station.” But that’s not to say it’s not fun to listen to: the music selection was surprisingly eclectic, with an emphasis on indie rock but also including electro-pop, country and even a ’40s big band hit. — MS

LOOKING TO START YOUR OWN NET RADIO STATION? PC WORLD HAS SOME TIPS

PC World has published an article (reprinted by the Washington Post here) outlining tips and useful information for those looking to start their own Internet radio station. The article suggests services, equipment and applications to use, while also offering helpful pointers on tricky issues like royalties, bandwidth and the DMCA.

MIROAMER EXPANDS INTO HONG KONG

MiRoamer, the Australian company that developed the Internet radio tuning platform used in the Blaupunkt in-car receiver, is expanding into Asia with the opening of a new office in Hong Kong. Additionally, the company has hired Colin Ward as the Business Development and Sales Manager to manage the expansion. The company announced they’d be opening new offices in the U.S. and Europe in coming months as well.



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