Radical.FM, a distinctive online radio service that allows multi-genre mixing, has temporarily shut down the service to concentrate its resources on an upcoming launch of TALK, a new broadcast feature. “Hard decisions need to be made regarding prioritization of our tech team,” said a notice to registered users, regarding the decision to suspend Radical’s service while technical development of the new feature is completed.
TALK promises to extend the functionality of RadCasting, launched a month ago, which invites users to broadcast their dynamically generated Radical stations to other users. RadCasting will return when the service re-opens, enhanced by TALK, in which users can inject their voice, live, into streams. TALK can be invoked with or without music, so Radical could be a platform for user-generated talk programming and Periscope-like live audio chatting. But we see the primary use of TALK as enabling users to broadcast their streams as live online radio stations, with live spoken commentary.
No firm date for the launch of TALK and the re-opening of Radical has been issued, but it will be after the new year. CEO Tom McAlevey told RAIN News that eagerness to launch ASAP has motivated the unusual step of pausing the existing Radical service, to concentrate resources. “Please trust that TALK will be worth the wait,” users were told in an email over the weekend.
We have no preview access to TALK currently, but in theory we think that the voice-injection feature will be a true differentiator in a service known for its innovation. Unlike most online radio services, the ability to mix and balance genres into single dynamically generated streams distinguishes Radical to start. We experimented with RadCasting last month when it was introduced, finding it easy to use and appealing on both ends — broadcasting our own streams and listening to other users’ stations in real-time. Adding real-time voicing will bring something like a one-click radio creation experience to Radical, in the context of a non-interactive service where you cannot build a playlist song-by-song. If well executed, the fun value and sharing capability could spark a lot of interest and use.