PRX set to launch overhaul of Public Radio Player iPhone app

Four years after the first iteration of PRX’s Public Radio Player iPhone launched, a complete, “ground-up rewrite” is ready, with features including a prominent “donate” button and the ability to download content for listening off-network. PRX announced the features of the newest version of its app during a conference call with stations Jan. 10. Director of Technical Projects Matt MacDonald said the overhaul’s goal was to continue to make the app one that individual stations without resources to build their own would continue to view as theirs. The Public Radio Player app, which is only available for Apple iOS devices, offers up thousands of stations streams, programs and podcasts from PRX, NPR, PRI and APM.

PBS inks deals for on-demand access to local station content

PBS unveiled deals to distribute public TV programs on two additional on-demand video streaming platforms — Roku and Xbox Live. The contracts, unveiled last week by PBS Digital chief Jason Seiken, lay the groundwork for apps that will feature local station programming and a limited selection of national content. To gain access, Xbox and Roku users will provide email addresses and choose their local station. The graphic interface on both services will be cobranded with PBS and local station logos. “Xbox and Roku are leaders in the fast-growing ‘over-the-top’ television phenomenon, in which viewers access television programs on-demand on their TV sets using an Internet connection,” Seiken wrote in Jan.

M. Ward debuts pubradio app for iPhones

Musician and public radio fan M. Ward has created an iPhone app that serves as a guide to noncommercial radio stations across the country. The Wasteland Companion app, which shares its name with Ward’s latest album, features almost a thousand stations of various formats, according to Rolling Stone. “The idea came out of my own necessity,” M. Ward told the magazine. “When I’m on tour, I want to listen to local radio with music being played by real people and actual voices in that community. Radio has the power to be a cultural hub.”

Ward’s travels have taken him to public radio stations as a guest — you can check him out on The Current in St.

NPR app for motorists gets radio from the Web as well as stations

Some new Ford cars will let their drivers shout “hourly news!” or “topics!” and choose public radio programming either on their local stations or through a smartphone streaming audio from the Internet. Bringing in webcasts and on-demand streaming gives drivers a vastly greater range of listening options and could make it even easier for them to hear public radio without help from their local stations. That ability is already within reach for drivers who have a smartphone and a cable or adapter to connect it to a car stereo. But coupling a smartphone with the new NPR app to Ford’s SYNC AppLink system may help popularize web audio listening, a scenario that dismays some pubradio station leaders. Regardless, some station execs are also praising NPR for taking the lead as the first news organization to develop a dedicated in-car app that showcases its programming.

PRX gets some fuel to incubate public-media journalism tools

With $2.5 million from the Knight Foundation, Public Radio Exchange will rev up a new Public Media Accelerator next year to assist new public-media journalism projects with seed money, mentoring and help in finding funds and investors. Knight stresses the mentoring. After experience with more than 200 media projects, Knight has found that the most successful have been “nurtured through outside advice and expertise,” said foundation veep Michael Maness. PRX hasn’t set priorities for projects, chief exec Jake Shapiro told Current, but he expects they will tend to develop software tools, especially mobile apps. Shapiro sees benefits for public media organizations that get their hands geeky with the tech side, as PRX did, instead of outsourcing the work, he wrote on PBS MediaShift’s Idea Lab.

Yes, web use is growing, but TV is still setting records

This paper began with a simple question. A station manager wanted to compare the sizes of her station’s web audience with its radio and television audiences — an apple-to-apples comparison. When she saw the results, her reaction was “OMG, why is that web audience so small?!”