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RAIN 7/20: RAIN reviews CBS's new Radio.com

Posted on: 07/20/2010

RADIO.COM MAY OVERWHELM WITH OPTIONS, BUT IMPRESSIVE NONETHELESS

Yesterday we reported on CBS Radio and CBS Interactive’s ambitious new integrated streaming platform Radio.com (RAIN coverage here), that ties together hundreds of online radio stations from CBS, AOL Radio, Yahoo Radio and Last.fm. It’s a ton of content and the site succeeds overall in organizing those hundreds of stations.

Yet, though it may be inevitable that the “KydzRadio” or “AOL Traditional Gospel” channels get buried, I wonder how someone specifically looking for such channels would ever find them — at least on the homepage. Once you actually start listening to a station, a handy search bar appears that instantly found AOL Traditional Gospel with a search for “gospel.” Why isn’t this on the homepage?

That said, listeners can set favorites for easy access to channels. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for interactivity on Radio.com, too. The player window displays recent tweets about the currently playing artist, artist bios, the ability to scrobble the track, rate it, buy it, share it (displayed below) and even discover similar artists and other stations that play that kind of music.

It’s clear CBS is trying to keep Radio.com a “lean in” experience by pouring in such content and interaction. Sometimes though, it feels a bit too crowded, (I spent a few seconds thinking, “how do I just skip the song?”), but listeners will certainly appreciate all the options.

The site is also ad-optimized. New banner ads are displayed on nearly every track and most channels I launched started with a pre-roll video ad. Notably on launching “AOL ’00s Indie,” I had to sit through a video ad and 6 audio spots before hearing a music. Hopefully it was just a glitch, but it would have been enough to turn me away.

So Radio.com may still need some work, but the feat of organizing hundreds of streams from 4 different services into one easily-understandable website is impressive. — MS

AP: INFOCAST WEB MEDIA DISPLAY A GOOD NET RADIO, NOT MUCH ELSE

The Insignia Infocast follows the Sony Dash and Chumby (in fact it runs Chumby apps) in displaying Internet media in a digital photo frame-like format. The Associated Press put the new $170 device through its paces and found that it’s well-suited for Internet radio with a display just big enough to show relevant info, decent speakers and a headset jack.

Plus, the ability to set an alarm to wake you up with music from Pandora or other services is coming soon. But unfortunately, Internet radio is one of the Infocast’s “few strengths.” Find the full review here.

SUBSCRIPTION MUSIC SERVICE MOG LANDS ON iPHONE, ANDROID WITH RADIO FEATURE IN TOW

The latest cloud-based music subscription service MOG has launched apps for iPhone and Android mobile devices — apps that include personalizable radio streams. Users pay $10 a month for MOG’s service, which includes on-demand access to over 8 million songs.

The radio service mimics the artist-centric streams of Pandora, Slacker, Last.fm and others. Notably, the app on both iPhone and Android devices currently lacks multitasking abilities. Billboard has more coverage here.



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