Radio to Mobile
Radio, which has always been a portable medium, is now successfully integrated with the mobile space. Radio can be listened to in the car, at the gym, in the park—basically anywhere. Mobile can be accessed in many of these same spaces. Integration between the two only makes sense. Some examples of how radio and mobile have integrated are:
- Mobile Internet
- Audio streaming
SMS plays a big role in radio broadcasts. Communication between radio stations and listeners has always taken place via phone and as a two-way process.
Many stations are now accepting SMS as a form of communication. Listeners can place requests, participate in contests, or subscribe to SMS services set up by the station. If the radio station is a news station, listeners can subscribe to news or traffic alerts. If the station is a sports station, listeners can subscribe to game scores. If the station is music station, listeners can subscribe to free music downloads or concert schedules. The use of SMS adds another opportunity for instant contact between the station and the listener, traditionally achieved only via voice.
Many radio stations on the entertainment side are responsible for concert promotion and festivals, and mobile has found its way into these areas for promotional purposes. SMS can be utilized to offer free tickets, backstage passes, T-shirts, and other prizes. These contests can be offered both over the air and at the concerts themselves. When the contest takes place at a concert, the execution of the SMS transaction needs to be as simple as possible and timed just right. One example is a scenario in which the first user to respond with the correct answer to a trivia question wins a prize. Common users don't have to think twice about their submissions. The exclusive content must be timely, such as when the center stage of the concert is taking a break or is in transition between sets.
Many radio stations have stepped into the mobile Internet space as well, making their playlists available, listing their program schedules, or taking song requests. Radio stations often have a web site as well, which means they are strongly represented in three spaces:
- Mobile Internet
Much of the content and functionality are interchangeable, but it leverages the portability factors of mobile.
Podcasts and Audio Streaming via Mobile
One major advantage for radio broadcasts and mobile is audio itself. Many stations are turning to mobile to either stream their broadcasts live or to serve it up as podcasts. These audiocasts can be accessed via a radio station's mobile Internet site, or downloaded from its online Internet site, and synced with their handsets. Users can listen to their favorite sportscasts live (see FIGURE 4.10), hear the latest news, or simply enjoy their favorite music. Radio remains portable—as it has from its inception. Mobile helps to enhance this because it brings it into another space. This also means one less device for users to carry.
Figure 4.10 An example of a podcast.
As a sense of promotion, radio stations sometimes offer ringtones of current songs or jingles. Users can download these from the station's Internet site and sync locally with their handsets; download via the station's mobile site directly to their handsets; or even receive the ringtone via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), where the ringtone is sent along with an SMS. This content provides users with an opportunity to "brand" their phones with the station identity or a particular music genre.