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Michael Robertson: 5 Reasons Why NextRadio Makes No Sense

michael robertson contributor logoThis guest contribution by Michael Robertson, founder of Radio Search Engine and DAR.fm, was originally posted on Google Plus. On that site, the article is followed by an interesting comment discussion featuring James Cridland, a frequent RAIN contributor. Here, Roberston takes NextRadio to task. Right or wrong? Leave a comment!


You probably haven’t heard of NextRadio in spite of many in the radio industry thinking it is the industry savior. It’s a smartphone app for listening to FM radio on your phone. Now you may be thinking you already have such an app, but this one is different. The audio signal comes over the FM frequency so it doesn’t use much data on your phone. Some in the radio industry are pinning their future on this technology, but it seems fatally flawed to me and here’s why.

nextradio mr1) Today’s consumer expects unlimited choices. NextRadio (when it works) lets people listen just to the tiny number of FM stations in the geographic area they currently reside in. A different era is upon us where people demand choices — not what is OKed by the FCC for listening in their area. There are great mobile apps that give access to nearly every station in the world with amazing search capability like http://bit.ly/XiaaLive (Android) and http://bit.ly/SongBot (iOS) and the kingpin Tunein.

2) NextRadio only works with certain phones that have a FM chip. No Apple phones have it and most Android phones don’t either — even the really expensive ones like Nexus 5. It’s not something that can be added because it is an actual chip inside the phone.

3) NextRadio only works if you have plugged-in wired headphones. If you use bluetooth headphones or just want to use your phone’s speakers it is impossible.

4) The quality of NextRadio stations is only as good as the FM signal. Forget perfect digital clarity, you’ll be back to static and dropouts familiar on your father’s old car radio.

5) Except for minimal bandwidth used by the phone, there’s no benefit to the consumer. You can’t rewind/skip songs. There’s no ability to create custom channels. If it works you’ll be stuck with the very limited stations in your area. It turns a $300 smartphone into a 1980s style $20 radio.

Rather than embrace the IP world we are now in, where everything that can be digitized will be delivered via the net, old-school radio people are pushing technology trying to recapture an era that is slipping away. An era when they had a government-protected monopoly which largely insulated them from competition, meaning they could generate big profits. Today they must compete with the vast entertainment choices available on the internet. Embracing internet delivered experiences is how they will remain a relevant and thriving industry, and NextRadio doesn’t do that.

Brad Hill

87 Comments

  1. Spot on. AM/FMs future will soon be that of the spittoon and the bedside potty. At best, maybe a display at the Smithsonian. AM/FM station owners would be best advised to get out while the getting is still good… The Digital Dash will change everything.

    • No one is asking Verizon to remove data consuming FM apps. All we want is the freedom of choice to use the FM radio receiver which is built onto virtually every Qualcom chip. We are demanding a choice on a device that we own. Take a look at the Verizon pages on Phonearena. They all list, and have listed for a number of years, inaccurate postings with FM radio specs. Has Verizon demanded that this misleading info be corrected. Uhhh, No. There are many WEB postings from cell purchasers that state: ” …where is my FM radio that was advertised in the specs…? Verizon has a duty to ask that inaccurate information be removed. The article above is just horse manure by someone not talented enough to figure alternative uses for electronic devices. I have owned cellphones for 25yrs and have adapted to voice calls that are “…tinny, static filled …” AND dropped. The cellphone should offer every available choice. The owner of the cellphone can then make the choice. Verizon needs to be broken apart like giant ATT was. They are too big and arrogant. The airwaves belong to every citizen. We should simply have the govt strip Verizon.

      • Well said. You also demonstrated great restraint and very respectful when talking about this author and Verizon. Kudos to you.

    • Hey dipshit, we’re not dead yet. Pretty much in the same spot as 2014 when you wrote this garbage, and still used by 90+% of the population. Eat a dick.

      • Well, don’t you look foolish today?

        From RadioInk today:
        BREAKING NEWS
        NextRadio And Tagstation Going Away
        On the Emmis earnings call this morning, CEO Jeff Smulyan announced that Emmis could no longer fund Nextradio for the entire radio industry and the operation will be winding down. Smulyan said the project really needed data attribution and he could not get support from the entire industry. Smulyan said while the industry supported it with words they were not willing to support it with dollars. Smulyan said this is heartbreaking to me because I’ve spent so much time on the project. More details coming as they become available.

    • You are wrong. The Next Radio App works just fine in my area even without the headphones plugged in. I unplugged them and there was no noticeable change in the quality of the sound. And it is great having an old-fashioned transistor radio pulling in local stations without burning up data. I listened all night long and the radio barely dented my battery. I am listening to NPR as I write, and the phone is connected to a JBL mini-speaker. Iphones do not have the radio chip in them, so they cannot use the app, even if they had earphones. That was one stupid decision anyway. So, for me, it made me a listener of my local stations again. They are all there with nice graphics and easier to access than on a vintage radio. Beautiful! I give the app FIVE STARS!

  2. And what of data plans which are becomeing more and more restrictive and more and more expensive? This does not figure into your calculation at all does it? You are just looking at the people around you, not the majority of people out there who do not realize that if they stuck to the norm of just 2.5 hours a day of radio and 5 plus hours on the weekend, they would max out their data plan in just over three days. No worries, another $80 and you have another week of listening.
    Radio’s demise has been predicted over and over again. MTV, CDs, CD changers in cars, MP3 players, MP3 disc players in cars, Hard Drives in cars… uh (knock knock), we’re still here and doing very well thank you. Go ahead and develop a digital dash board! Link your cell service in! People already have a HUGE gallery of entertainment to choose from with Sat Radio and yet even with prices as low at $7 per month, they can still only get about 11% market share (and who knows how that is fragmented up amongst their channels).
    Radio is well and doing fine. We’ll stick with our 1940’s technology because it still ain’t broke!

    • You’re a moron. T Mobile just released free streaming for audio (for certain providers) and the price of data is dropping. Seriously, when was the last time anyone ever talked about their data plan? Please.

      • You are the moron. I talk about data plans all the time. I work at a cell company and every data plan that is out now is garbage. There used to be a thing called unlimited date. And I meet true unlimited data not that trash that T Mobile and sprint call unlimited. Not only that it’s not truly free streaming of audio. If u have T Mobile read your fine print because it still uses a miniscule about of data 64 bit. Therefor u are paying for it. In my opinion you need to go see a Dr because u might have a 47th chromosome.

    • Totally agree with you!!! Internet radio is limited by data plan…. this is an option !!!
      too bad it doesn’t work with IPHONE

    • None of what you said factors into what he said: Most phones don’t have chips anyway. If you buy a phone that has one, which is likely to be of a retail price of over 600 dollars, then you probably have the money to afford a decent data plan.
      If you’re telling me you can’t afford a decent data plan, yet you can afford an expensive phone with an FM radio chip, then maybe you should reevaluate your priorities.
      If it’s that much of a problem, you have two options. There are recievers that plug into the outside of the phone, or you can just buy a damn hand held radio, both of which cost much less than getting a phone with an FM enabled chip, and that way you can have any damn phone you want.

      The whole point of this is why nextradio doesn’t make sense, not why streaming radio is better.

      • Not true at all. I bought a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini on Amazon unlocked, dual sim card with radio chip (big reason for the phone) for less than $200. I’m VERY happy with it & tell all my friends about it.

        • And I love that I don’t even need to download an app to listen to the radio… it’s built in & FREE! NO ADS! Still, if I didn’t have it, Next Radio would be my next choice.

      • My old cheap moto g works on it, only gets like 20 stations tho, but hasn’t really used any data as of yet…

      • Oh my god! Just give me the option, if I don’t like it I will stop using it. This is all about big companies making more and more money and Next Radio limits that to some extent while giving people what they want-FREEDOM OF CHOICE! Batteries not included.

    • I listen to NPR while at work. NPR has been consistently growing year after year for decades. I charge my Windows phone once every 4 days from only playing the radio. When I tried to stream NPR on my android phone, it would die half way through the day. Audio quality isn’t the only reason why FM is better than DAB. When I go to Wal-Mart, I can pick up my FM signals but my calls drop because of the steel frame blocking cell reception. Also, FM signals are still being received while in airplane mode. Good luck streaming audio while in airplane mode. FM is also used for emergency signals. Pandora doesn’t tell me that there is a tornado warning for the next couple of hours while every FM station broadcasts the EAS alert. FM stations also broadcast Amber Alerts.

      Buying a $600 phone and complaining about the monthly service charges for data access its not absurd. I will buy a nice phone and pay $30 a month for service because I don’t want to pay $80 per month. I didn’t need gigabytes of data to need a device that can heavy apps and multitask.

      FM is included in the all in one chips produced nowadays. The cell companies choose to disable them through software our by telling the manufacturers to disable them through the hardware. We do not have to pay more for the hardware, so dang that there aren’t enough people interested in FM for it to be available is farcical. It is available. Just stop destroying the capabilities and the people that want to stream can stream. The rest of us can use the hardware that we all have paid for.

  3. This commentary is about “why it won’t work”. The consumer will tell us. There
    is no question that in an emergency NEXTRadio is life-saving. Why deny the consumer the right to this option for entertainment and safety. Those who are
    protesting should remember when the automobile industry thought seat belts and air bags were not a benefit. Those who are protesting loudly are adversarial to broadcast licensees and are not necessarily consumer advocates. NEXTRadio is an audio choice that can put a radio receiver in every pocket and on every dashboard. The consumer will decide whether or
    not to use it and when. Why be against NEXTRadio. I have it on my Droid
    device and have loved listeniing to the local ball games while at the stadium watching the game…and switching to other games of interest. It is easy to use. I can also listen on the stream, but it is not as easy to change stations and there are data charges. It really is about consumer choices. Why deny the choice.

    • Consumers have spoken. The aren’t significantly interested. The numbers are very, very low.

      • Sounds like Dave works for Verizon. Thats right everyone, NextRadio is no good! Nothing to see here, move along. Keep on streaming data so we can keep on charging you for it.
        People need choices for listening that dont use data on their phone. This is just like car companies killing public transit in L.A. back in the mid 1900’s.

  4. NextRadio isn’t about technology choices, data plans, or finding local content – It’s about selling targeted digital ads, while not having to pay royalties.

    If you listen to a station over FM airwaves, no performance royalties are paid. If you listen to the same station via the digital Internet, SoundExchange needs to get a check.

    NextRadio was funded by NAB labs as a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing to allow broadcasters a method of selling premium targeted digital ads like their Pandora & iHeartRadio bretheren, and bypass performance royalties.

    Its a simple act of wanting to have your cake, eat it too, and wave some smoke and mirrors about reduced data usage, increased battery life, and availability of emergency responsiveness.

    • So how is that different than listening to local radio stations over a traditional radio?

    • I think you are the only person with a clue on this thread Tom. Generation after generation keeps trying to kill radio off. The reason it doesn’t happen is that it is a perfect partner with digital and most importantly, you hit the button and it comes on! You don’t have to connect and wait for a stream. You hit the button. It’s there. Yes, no royalties for radio groups if you are hearing the broadcast with an antenna. From a ratings standpoint, it’s an outrage that phones have antennas that are not activated. One of radio’s most important value is that it is LOCAL. You’ll never beat a LIVE broadcast of events because it’s your life in real time. This article plays to the digital audience, that’s been trying to discard radio for decades. It’s simply not going to happen.

    • Finally someone commenting – who actually has accurate knowledge about what they’re talking about as oppose to the typical angry and ignorant internet look most tend to have these days.

  5. I always find Michael entertaining. In this opinion I also find him wholly correct 😉
    While I’m aware that this app has no legal implications on its own, the NAB has been pushing for protectionist legislation that would force Smartphones to include AM/FM receivers for years. As others commented, consumers have already spoken – the issue is a non-starter. But Mr Murphy added the icing to the cake with his deadly accurate comment, touché! What a thing to lobby for, the forcing of antiquated technology on an uninterested public and the simultaneous screwing of artists…

    From the HotSeat,
    Tom McAlevey, CEO Radical.FM

    • Antiquated maybe, but when a person is still able to receive important information when your cell companies server is down is quite relative in a society where information is high priority. Information is not antiquated.

  6. as a dinosaur I’m not interested in gazillions of channels I can only listen to one at a time. I dont spend all my time channel flipping just to prove I can. I sometimes like to listen to the radio while walking the dog. Oh yes I nearly forgot. a good FM channel has higher audio quality than DAB. Dont try and argue until you have read up on data compression. FM rocks.

  7. I am a consumer and I have the BLU Life 8 phone which as an FM Radio app that came pre-loaded w my phone. I’m quite excited about it because I can listen to the radio in my car, and then continue to listen to the station while I walk to work. Therefore I’m not missing anything. This app works quite well for me. I think it’s pretty cool.

  8. What about situations where digital radio will not work? My gym has 12 televisions on the wall and to listen to whichever program you choose you must tune to a specific FM channel. There is no way to do this digitally.
    What about if you’re at a conference where another language is spoken and there is an FM broadcast of a translator? What about FM broadcasts of live events for those that are hearing impaired? These situations may not affect everyone but why eliminate the choice?

  9. I listen to one FM station at an outside job all day, 6 days a week. It’s a sports talk show. This destroys my battery and I have no nearby electricity to recharge it. I would love this app, but have an iPhone. Please don’t speak for everyone. I don’t care about the 1,000’s of other stations. I do care about battery life, and I already listen to the station via headphones (before my battery dies, leaving me with no call ability until I get back to my vehicle).

  10. Rebuttals: 1. If\when there is a major power outage in your area, streaming will fail but FM will still provide emergency alerts and programming via NextRadio. Internet only stations aren’t even required to air EAS announcements. 2. Most phones do have the FM chip installed, just a firmware update is needed to get them operational. 3. Screenshot indicates speaker use is possible. 4.Perfect digital clarity @ 128kbs in MP3 is still subpar compared to FM (yes except when in low power areas delivering some static). 5. Consumers aren’t demanding it yet because they don’t know about it. Why would phone manufacturers, who often partner with cell providers, want to enable\offer it? And if you crash your car while searching through 1000’s of streams on your digital dash, how will you feel about the old, quick FM presets then?FYI:We’re 3 years past the “radio dead in 5” pronouncements. peace

    • I read the comments and Spence is super spot on!!! Numbers are only low because of awareness. Economics is the number one reason why you want this. As for data, most of the carriers don’t just let you stream unlimited (even though they claim it). Yes, this app makes sense for tons of reasons. Lastly, I bought a cheap iPod (well, the cheaper one) that you apparently can’t add apps to and I noticed it had a radio. I was initially curious how it could provide radio without any wifi. It’s the same underlying concept and FM chip. Not sure why Apple didn’t piggy back that into their phones.

  11. This feature is available on a very limited number of smartphones (iPhone is a huge market but not supported), receiver sensitivity is limited (from what I’ve heard) and data plans are constantly getting larger so most listeners can easily accommodate a lot of 128k streaming without running out of data. — This is a novelty at best. If your battery is running out because of streaming, buy an inexpensive external battery pack or an FM pocket radio. — Streaming is the future and soon terrestrial FM broadcasters are going to see their audience erode like their AM cousins did over the past few decades.

  12. I just found this article when searching for some info on the NextRadio app. Sorry if this is late but I wanted to express some thoughts.

    I have a Sony Ericsson W810i, a dinosaur candy-bar phone that I selected years ago when changing over from Sprint to Cingular (then, AT&T now). The main reason why I chose this phone: it has a built-in FM radio. I like to listen to a couple of local stations as I have a fairly good track record at winning prizes they give away. You can’t effectively compete in these contests if you’re listening to streaming feeds as they are delayed by 30 seconds (or more). They also sometime substitute different ads during commercial breaks and that can cut off contest announcements (i.e., the cue to start calling the station) and if they’re not timed right, the start of the next song.

    I do have an iPod Touch, along with a T-Mobile WiFi hotspot that I sometimes use for listening to out-of-market stations so I’m not out-of-touch when it comes to the benefits of streaming music. My T-Mobile data plan provides for unlimited data when using selected streaming sources so that’s not an issue for me.

    To rebut your five main points:

    1) “A different era is upon us where people demand choices”; if that’s really your main reason, then offering OTA FM radio IS another choice.

    2) “NextRadio only works with certain phones that have a FM chip”. I realize you wrote this over a year ago but my understanding is that today Apple does have the radio hardware inside their phones but have not yet activated them. But even if they didn’t, there are enough phones out there that now do so why handicap them if it doesn’t cost the consumer anything other than a set of earphones?

    3) “NextRadio only works if you have plugged-in wired headphones”. I realize that wired earphones as so yesterday but I’d rather use one of those rather than rely on a Bluetooth earpiece that has a battery that may not last a day and falls off my ear.

    4) “The quality of NextRadio stations is only as good as the FM signal”. For the environments that I listen to the radio in, I don’t need the 20Hz to 20Khz frequency response that HD radio or CDs offer. In the office at my desk, I don’t expect to be “hi-fi”, nor in a car with its own acoustical problems.

    5) “there’s no benefit to the consumer”. I don’t need a skip or rewind function for radio. If I don’t like a song that’s on, I can either mute the radio for three minutes or find another station. I have that option since I live in a large radio market (San Francisco Bay Area). I understand that might not be possible for everybody out there so streaming for them would be a very good option (maybe their only one). Both over-the-air and streaming systems should be available to users. That’s choice. Something you seem to advocate so why not let consumers vote with their feet. One benefit that was previously mentioned by another poster here is that local OTA radio is local; it offers news and relevant information about the area in which I live and work. I get traffic notices and weather updates, even from the “music” station I listen to. You can’t do that with a streaming service that selects songs to play based upon what you tell it you like.

    San Jose, CA

    • I just got the NextRadio ap here in Maryland, but I can use it to listen to WiLD 94.9 in California if I want to. Surely, I cannot pick that station up from Maryland on terrestrial radio, but I can still listen on NextRadio now. I haven’t checked yet, but I’m sure I can also get the South American stations that have been added rather recently without having to go to South America or TuneIn, etc. The future on NextRadio isn’t exactly going the direction author predicted. As soon as they add UK radio to it I may not ever stop using it. (By the way, UK radio is still as creative and open minded today as WiLD 94.9 and many other stations across the US used to be in the 90s, with more freedom to think outside the box and explore various types of music and specialty shows).

  13. Actual a radio signal rarely drops out like digital ones. I frequently get “station not available” message with internet apps. Never on radio! It’s another option. Who wants fewer options? I have Next Radio and mp3s and several internet radio options. Receives a tiny amount of stations? All of them where I am and if you live in say NYC how many stations would that be? Over 40 on the list I checked. Btw it does have output to speakers, so I don’t trust a review that’s wrong about the item being reviewed. Also if you don’t like radio why is it a negative that some phones don’t have it? It’s easy to use and is a great alternative to the digital dropouts of internet radio.

  14. Ahh what a biased article… Definitely paid one. His arguments although true are only half truth and as they say half truth is worst than a lie. What about all net neutrality arguments going on. Someone said t mobile provides free data for “certain” services that’s exactly the point. The providers will dictate whom
    Pays them more and that’s what we will have to listen. I agree that next radio will make money on digital ads but at least o have a choice if I want to listen to local fm or streaming music. All his points sounds silly but the one that tops all is the last point how the freaking way using the fm converts my $600 pone to a $20 1980 one. And if they really are not afraid then why the hell take away my option of FM. Why not just provide the fm chip on all phones including Apple.

  15. I got it but still connect to Bluetooth device so I just use my phones cm radio it came with.

  16. I would want it for one reason only. Local sports broadcasts. It’s criminal that major sports block/charge streaming to the same content available over air. Pressure from these types of entities is likely why the chips aren’t more widely included /enabled.

  17. Lower power consumption, connection to my local community radio station. Local station often get blacked out on the web when broadcasting sports.

  18. dropped in to look at comments and I am with the next radio crowd .why?…..mostly Verizons ripoff data plans and the fact that there are some services that you want localized(emergency for instance)
    unfortunatly you guys that think that ip is king are about to get hit with a hard reality….the major providers are gunning for your wallets but not the right way.
    I will bet alot of you stream TV too!!! Welllllll guess what….here is the deal. As
    soon as they get all you guys steaming everything here come the caps…yupp…lets say this again CAPS…….one more time fellas…CAPS. This is the plan. Your old cable guys that you just dumped..well they got you back again and they are going to @ZZFCK you even harder. That music will only be unlimited if you limit yourself to your providers tunes…and their ADS..yup you will be forced to spend your data on THEIR ADS!! or else…its CAPS for you…lololol
    Now more seriously…..yes that sounded a little crazy but please do yourself a favor and go ahead and start the complaints to the FCC concerning data caps
    because the above seems to be the way this thing is coming together and not even great music is worth 10-12 bucks per GB.
    One more thing…some of you scoffed at not being able to get a better data plan. Well there are some of us that have to prioritize thing like….you younger guys college education that WE paid for and prep for retirement and the payment for the 3500 square foot castle you grew up in…so a bigger data plan kind of takes a back seat to that and we would like to be able to enjoy our
    lives and phones also….so for some of us a phone with the chip is worth the
    investment rather than throwing the money away on more data.

  19. Here’s a suggestion for all of you battling over whether radio is obsolete. Do an informal survey of ten of your friends. Ask them:

    1. When you’re in your car, what do you listen to most: a) radio, or b) something else like Sirius/XM, streaming from smart phone, CD, etc.
    2. Do you have those options (other than radio) available to you.

    My guess is that at least 60% will still say Radio is their prevalent audio choice while driving.

  20. I enjoy the Next app I have a Samsung Grand Prime, $10 a month phone. The cheapest smartphone I could find. The sound quality is great. Easy to use. I just use the ear buds as an antenna. I tried connecting Bluetooth didn’t work, but fooled the app and uses the external speakers. It receives 36 local stations as I expected.

  21. All I can say, is I sought an alternate to nextradio because while commuting to work every day, nextradio would stop emmiting broadcasts even when the app shows to still be playing. I have to stop the broadcast, then got play again. Many times, when I hit play after such an occurrence, I then get a hardware issue message and have to reboot my phone to reenable nextradio’s ability to broadcast. If I could just restart the nextradio app and it’s dependencies without restarting my phone, that would be great. This I installed the app mentioned in this article.

  22. I must admit that at first I thought the app was useless…I was wrong. Now my phone isn’t fancy OK, I have Moto E, 2nd generalization, & I’m my data service is w/Boost Mobile. I pay $60 a month, for unlimited everything talk/text/data, w/no data cap or slowdown. Now moving on my previous sentiment was that NR wasn’t useful, I admit I judged too soon. It is useful, and if you want different stations just change your zip code, you don’t have to be stuck listening to local stations. I lived in VA for a year then came back home to FL, I missed my VA stations. Next Radio gives me that option. And for the news that’s what emergency one is for.

    • If you change the zip code to a code in VA on next radio it will scan for fm stations in that zip code but wont play them when you are in Florida because your 600 miles away from the radio tower.

  23. This article is highly suspect! Notice it’s written by the guy who created dar.fm…. A website that specializes in making you pay money to record, you guessed it, FM radio station broadcasts. Yes, the actual terrestrial FM broadcasts that he is advising are so “antequated” in his article.

    Don’t listen to this guy. FM radio still very much has a place in the world, plenty of people listen to it all the time in their cars and homes. There is nothing wrong with wanting to listen to FM, and if it works on your phone, more power to you!

    It sounds to me like he’s trying to deter people from receiving FREE local FM signals in favor of making people pay money for his subscription service.

    Sad.

  24. First of all, everyone is under the impression that digital means perfect clarity, not true. The FM radio in my phone has far superior audio quality than a stream, provided you have a good signal from the FM station, but then again you must have a good data connection to receive a stream and there are many areas where there is no data available at all. Scanning my fm chip in my phone brought up 65 stations I could listen to. These stations are within 40 miles of my location. I can receive local news, sports, weather and even the time. If your stupid enough to pay $ 300.00 for a smartphone you deserve listening to a stream and be in the dark on what’s local.

  25. I love listening to local fm radio on my phone during the work day. When I was commuting on public transit I would listen during my bus or train ride. I discovered that my phone had an fm chip by accident about 4 years ago. When I bought a new phone last month, the ability to listen to fm radio without streaming and relying on data or wifi was a deciding factor for which phone I bought and which carrier I went with.

  26. I’m very glad I discovered NextRadio. Streaming data doesn’t work for me. My some days my job involves driving 150+ miles through rual Virginia / West Virginia. I pass through several areas with no cellphone service. FM and AM radio are lifesavers for me.

  27. As a newly ex user of next radio, i liked the fact that it (used to) function WITHOUT ANY conectivity. Thst was the reason i loved nextradio. Now with the new update, i can no longer use the app without having to be connected via phone service carrier (used.to rock out on airplane mode. Get an app that does not use anything but the fm chip and i will be all for it.

  28. Don’t listen to this moron . The point of FM is it’s free. When you realize you won’t have to pay for the service, use data, need wifi, or use 25%of the battery that streaming your paid commercials you will want this app. Plus I can listen to the local ballgame instead of having to pay more money. Stop telling people that free stuff isn’t economical you incurably dumbass.

  29. Traveling public transport every day for a few hours and wish I could simply listen to my #1 national station. My phone has a working FM chip (HTC One M9 / Netherlands), but the app is less than basic and crap!
    If only there was an app that just allowed me to use FM and RDS if possible…
    I thought Next radio comes close.

  30. More to the point: FM is so readily implemented, it is already in many phone’s hardware. Big Business service providers & phone manufacturers decided we should not be able to listen to free FM radio, and restrict the use of the hardware. Actually, Motorola’s Moto E does feature a FM tuner, and it was only $20 for the phone on Amazon. Maybe some of those paying $700 should demand more from their phone instead of just blindly buying the next trend as soon as it comes out. Stop feeding the wolves, sheep.

  31. I have sprint and have had NextRadio on the phone I have now and the phone before it (Galaxy S7 and HTC one m8).

    When hurricane Sandy hit I would have appreciated an fm radio. I didn’t have any ready to go in the house. (They either weren’t working or didn’t have batteries ).

    That said, I have a rule of thumb test for radios. There’s a college station about 25-30 miles from my house. Good radios will pick it up. Bad radios don’t. NextRadio doesn’t come close. It’s nice to have for emergencies but it just isn’t very good for day to day use.

  32. In a disaster or other emergency situation, it’s far more likely that the cell network will go down versus all FM stations within range going down simultaneously. Why? Power loss or damage are possible with cell networks, but the primary reason I can see would be traffic overload.

    FM stations are nowhere near as likely to be affected by power loss or physical damage simply because they’re spread out much further, and they’re not affected by traffic overload. I’m not saying it’s impossible for all FM within range to go down; it’s just a lot less likely to happen.

    In an emergency or disaster situation, I want every possible option available, and this is a good option to have.

  33. I’m ashamed to say that until I came across this and similar articles, I didn’t know that many (most?) non-Apple smartphones had FM chips but that many (most?) of these are disabled. I’m writing an app for people in a region that is prone to deadly bushfires and I started searching for a way to provide them with an FM radio service, thinking that this was almost certainly not possible. I was absolutely stunned when I found out that many smart phones do have an FM chip but these are generally disabled. I was also pretty disgusted with some comments on this page that said the chips shouldn’t be available as FM was “old fashioned”. While it is certainly true that people can purchase FM radios, it’s a fact that, while they almost always have their phone with them, they very rarely remember to take their radio. An FM service on smartphones will undoubtedly save lives. All smartphones simply must have an enabled FM chip.

  34. Try listening to a NFL.game on stream. Without a radio chip or paying for NFL streaming, you can’t use the phone as it is blacked out. Even preseason. I always have my phone on me. I don’t have a transistor radio on me. I pay 600 for a phone, I should be able to use the damn thing as a radio.

  35. so, you’ve got this wonderful app on your smartphone…and as the earlier NextRadio commercials used to warn about losing power, etc., what are you going to use to charge your smartphone when it runs down? Better buying an Eton emergency radio or a Sangean emergency radio, that you just need to crank for 30 seconds to charge the batteries. It receives AM/FM, has a USB port so you can charge that precious (unusable) smartphone…..and you don’t have to worry about those pesky earbuds and getting the cords all tangled up….

  36. Youre missing the point. I downloaded the app because I wanted FM radio. I like my local stations and I wanted to listen to music with little data usage. FM wont be going anywhere soon, until data prices get much cheaper. And of course iPhones arent supported their shoddy minimalistic quality doesnt include an FM reciever. Dont blame the app, blame the phone.

  37. Hey guys, I’m not interested in debating whether or not this is a good idea. I’ve read many of your comments and my opinion still stands, I really wish my cell phone had the FM chip enabled so I could use the nextradio app. It would be awesome to be able to listen to some of my favorite stations through my phone while at my desk at work. I get it that I can buy a radio and put it on my desk, but why not use the hardware that I already own?

  38. There are several major benefits.
    1. You get local statios so when some stations are blacked out on the Internet you can still receive over the air.
    2. It uses no cellular data
    3. You do not need Internet connection
    4. You use less battery because you do not use cellular or WiFi
    5. You can still send to speakerphone, but it is true that you must have headphones plugged in, because headphones act as the antena

  39. This Micheal Robertson guy is a tool. He wants you to pay him so you can record live fm broadcast which are free normally.
    The question here is not Nextradio…that’s just an app, tomorrow there could be better live radio apps, they are simple to make…No the question here is choice…biased verizon, etc. Are controlling our access to radio, backed up by all those streaming services looking to get your money. (Actually verizon has now activated the hidden radio chip in the Samsung s6 s7 last month).
    Hitler, Stalin, pinochet, Castro, kadaffi and now we have att verizon sprint etc with the author of this article to dictate our wants needs and choices.

  40. I grew up in the 80s, so call me old-school if you wish. I’m a software programmer and computer engineer and nothing annoys me more than modern GUI. If anything needs more than one or two clicks to start working then I’m usually annoyed before the experience starts, i appreciate options but I should not need to select every option every time i use a tool. There are plenty of less ocd reasons why FM and IR are good features on any phone, personally i was always very angry that international phones had FM while domestic phones had it intentionally removed or disabled by our carriers at extra cost! Michael Robertson do your homework, you’re an idiot.

  41. Blah. Blah. Blah.. An era that is slipping away… Get off your high horse, I think its a great idea, especially when these stupid carriers try to swindle every damn cent they can with data packages, using a streaming app is great, but the data usage is the breaking point, since nobody gives good data packages at a good price then you pretty much burn through it with all the other app, browser and streaming services.. IT SUCKS.. NextRadio is a great alternative, when you said it basically uses little data, it actually can use no data when its switched to basic tuner mode. Why not utilize something that is available for free anyway.. I don’t see a problem with it. Another thing you said was that it requires headphones, that is because the headphones act as an antenna, but you can output the audio through the phones speaker. Yet another thing you mentioned is that many phones don’t have an FM chip, wrong again, virtually all cellphones today have them, its the carriers that restricted access to it. Then they were technically forced to give access but elected to do it on new phones they are putting out (a gimmick to make them more money so people would have to buy new phones to get that access). Oh using FM for radio would also use less battery than a streaming app also. AND last but not least its a good way of getting information (news, alerts & emergencies) if the cell towers would happen to not be working (unlikely but not impossible).

    However it seems like this article’s author has an agenda or alternative motive, if you notice the top bar on the page has a link to an AccuRadio APP, looks to me like you just want people to use your add based radio app than use something that is free to everyone.

  42. I find this article totally disgusting. Cell manufactureres chose to close down the radio function thats already builtin. The bottom line they are putting effort to block a feature from their customers. The reasons can be found over the internet. Its not to the cell phowners benefit. I am wondering what the article writers interests are. I dont think they are similar to mine – a simple cellular phone owner.

  43. This author clearly A: is out of touch with data plans and costs (yes… The two nationally available carriers do not offer unlimited data), and B: blind to reality, stuck on his version of progress…

    Let’s talk about clarity and digital, let’s talk about uncompressed over the air television and radio, and compare this to compressed (lossy audio and video) compression solutions via the internet, satellite, etc…

    Next is clear, crisp, and minimal on data use, while the streaming apps are just the opposite…
    Out of touch…

    I’ll drop next and progress to the *future*, right after the next generation of energy starts sustaining itself without government mandates and subsidies…

    Next…

  44. I’ll agree with the ones that call you a moron bc you are! AND if it’s not broken why fix it! I’ll bet you money that you know this posting made a fool of yourself.
    Personally l enjoy listening to local radio and what if can’t pay the phone bill but still wanna hear the radio well you still can if you have next radio. That’s 1 of my 5 reasons to have it.
    Thanks next radio

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  46. I have unlimited data plan, but I LOVE listening to FM on my phone for a few reasons.
    1. Contests. Streaming is delayed 10-20 seconds which means by the time I hear a contest to call in it’s already too late. And yes, I win stuff all the time.
    2. I get terrible data in my building and my company doesn’t allow streaming on the Wifi but I get excellent FM. This is also true if I’m in some rural area where I can’t get data but FM reaches fine.

    My only big complaint is having to plug in wired headphones. I love by bluetooth headphones. They have antennas for data and phone service and can’t have one for the FM?

  47. just throwing this out there cause everyone seems to think you need a $600 phone for this to work. i have a $50 walmart special. a cheap little samsung express 3. no big contract just a pay as you go. i pay 60 a month. unlimited talk, text. data cap of 10gb which i never use over 3 and i’m always running multilple games at the same time. my phone never turns off and i dont use “airplane mode” point being. my cheap walmart special comes with the FM chip. next radio works fine. no static. 4 states worth of stations. and even works when i dont have carrier service. let the cell towers go down. i still have radio while everyone around me panics. 😛 no i dont care, yes i’m a asshole.
    i will however agree that the wired headphone restriction is a downside. but that just acts as a antena which is needed for any form of a signal. even the $600 phones mentioned above have antena built in unlike the 1990’s nokia phones with the hardened rubber nubs.

  48. Many football, college games, are broadcast through contract with a “FM home station.” The station is streamed but the game cannot be streamed so phone fails miserably. With this app it now seems possible to get the broadcast thru the FM chip. Sweet!

  49. Being from a third world country where internet data charges can exceed the basic living wage next radio offered an alternative to profit-hungry internet service providers and advertisers. A lot of the comment here don’t deal with people that cannot afford the technology costs. Stop thinking Selfishly
    Go Next Radio

  50. So it turns out this the writer of the article had no forward thinking. MANY new phones now have the chip enabled and my Note 8 now can receive OTA stations. It greatly reduces battery use and of course data use. LG has announced many of their phones now have the chip enabled. I thank NEXT RADIO for pushing this.

  51. This article is a bunch of horseshit. Apparently the author has a vested interest in keeping people streaming and paying big bucks, rather than to listen to content for free using existing equiptment in your Android. The big advantage is if the cell system goes down for whatever reason and everyone is crying because they can’t hear their music, you’ll still be able to listen. Especially good for emergency situations. The author of this article really has no clue and I think that he has an alterior motive to keep us stuck on the streaming train. I like saving my data and battery power with the NextRadio app and have an emergency backup radio on hand for information relating to LOCAL emergencies, along with EAS alerts. You are not getting that through iTunes or TuneIn Radio. What a waste of Internet space publishing this rubbish.

  52. This article is so slanted that one begs the question whether this reviewer is biased against NextRadio. I have an LG L62LV and NextRadio works fine with no interruption and with or without headphones. Having headphones is not required to work with NR. Sure, it’s not the best app out there but I had no problem getting it to work. Plus, if you have poor wifi or you are in an area with a less than stellar wifi reception, then it’s going to affect your ability to use NextrRadio. Michael Robertson, make sure you know damn well what you’re talking about before you write an obviously slanted article.

  53. You guys make me LOL. If we had a true national emergency, wireless headphones, cell towers and internet connections will be totally worthless. We will need to revert to older over-the-air technology, old school, which means FM chipsets in all phones, long battery lives on phones, and even dial-up modem access to the internet for emergencies. We do need to be prepared and we are woefully unprepared in case of any real emergency in this country.

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  55. I have an Alcatel A30 Fierce with NextRadio.
    I use a small length of headphone cable with the actual speakers cut off as an FM antenna abd set NextRadio to output to the phone’s speaker.

    Sure, you can’t rewind it, but during an emergency situation when cell service is down you certainly can’t stream news reports on your cellular connection, so having a way to receive local radio stations and hear them without using a headset is good.
    All you need to do is chop the noisemakers off a cheap set of earbuds.
    You can’t beat the price or the reliability.
    Cell phones *are* radios.
    Radio will never become obsolete.

  56. Michael Robertson, you’re a moron.

    First, the FM chip you are referring to is built into the Bluetooth chip. If your phone is Bluetooth-capable then it has the hardware it needs to receive FM signals. The FM hardware has to be enabled in the phone’s Operating System… either Android or whatever they call it on iPhones.

    Second, I do a lot of hiking, camping, and other similar outdoor activities where I am not able to get a cell signal but can get FM signals. Being able to receive FM radio stations has helped me avoid bad weather on long, multi-day hikes.

    Bottom line, if you are going to write a blog about differing technologies such as on-air FM versus streaming you should list the advantages and disadvantages of each technology… not just one or the other.

  57. When there is a EMP, nuclear holocaust, or zombie apocalypse you all will be scrambling for that $20 FM radio!

  58. You are all a bunch of f IDIOTS I want a chip so I can listen to local and it streams so if I want something from vsome where else I use data wow that’s hard probably for a millennial

  59. I truly appreciate having a genuine fm radio. There are times I can’t connect to internet. Even if I can connect to internet, without Next Radio, I’m sometimes unable to receive some local radio stations.

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