INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- NextRadio®, the free smartphone app that combines local FM radio broadcast with the internet to create a visually engaging, interactive artist and advertising experience, announced today that it has partnered with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to urge the radio industry to participate in an over-the-air campaign promoting FM chip activation in all smartphones. Stations across the U.S. are being encouraged to run pre-produced spots which will educate and urge millions of radio listeners to download NextRadio to enjoy free, local FM radio on their smartphones, or visit FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org to add their voices to the growing demand for wireless carriers to unlock free FM radio in the smartphones they sell.
Four years in the making, NextRadio was built as an industry solution – a smartphone app that combines over-the-air FM broadcasts with imagery, text and interactivity to deliver an innovative listening experience. NextRadio enhances radio with the kind of interactivity consumers have come to expect in the digital world without draining the listener's battery life or data plan. In July 2014, NextRadio worked with partners at the NAB, American Public Media, National Public Radio, and the Educational Media Foundation to create FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org. This website and advocacy effort was designed to educate Americans about one simple fact – there is a chip inside their smartphones capable of tuning to free FM radio, if only their wireless carriers would choose to activate it.
"This campaign is the fruition of leaders in the radio business working together to provide listeners with an exciting new broadcast radio experience that is dependable in times of emergency and provides the interactivity listeners seek," said NAB President Gordon Smith in a letter to broadcasters encouraging support. "Please help us by uniting in this important effort to secure a bright future for radio."
The Radio Advertising Bureau and National Alliance of State Broadcasting Associations have also urged their constituents to support this vital campaign. "Working together in support of radio on all platforms, we will have a stronger voice for radio and one that ensures our future and place in listeners' lives," wrote RAB President Erica Farber in a letter to her colleagues.
"An activated FM chip in every smartphone is our key to staying readily-available and connected with our communities," said Michelle Vetterkind, President of NASBA. "The NextRadio platform is our key to future audience and advertiser growth with a renewed perception of what broadcast radio means. Together, these initiatives create a vibrant listening and advertising ecosystem for the entire industry."
Katz Media Group, McGavren, Local Focus, and Regional Reps are sending information to their respective affiliates nationwide to run the commercials produced with the help of New York advertising agency, DeVito/Verdi, as part of a multi-effort program. Broadcasters not affiliated with these firms, or those wishing to begin running creative ahead of the orders, may do so by visiting the website, nextradioapp.com/campaign. With full participation, more than 244 million radio listeners nationwide will learn about this vital industry initiative.
"The most critical step is now telling the American public that this is available to them," noted Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis. "If our industry tells the American people that they can activate the FM Chip in every smartphone, we are certain that our industry will be dramatically revitalized. It's in our hands now, and we can succeed if we all work together."
About TagStation®, LLC and NextRadio®
TagStation, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Emmis Communications Corporation. TagStation, LLC has developed the TagStation® service to provide radio stations with artist and title information and unique interactivity with listeners. With partial funding from NAB Labs, TagStation also developed the NextRadio® hybrid radio smartphone app which uses TagStation® cloud services to provide a rich FM radio listening experience on smartphones and tablets by combining the devices' built-in FM tuner and the internet. Founded in 2013, TagStation, LLC is headquartered in Indianapolis, IN with offices in Indianapolis and Chicago, IL. For more information, about TagStation®, visit TagStation.com. For more information about NextRadio®, visit NextRadioApp.com.
Below please find the full text of the email/letters referenced in the release.
Dear RAB Member,
As radio broadcasters we continue to collaborate to bring forth innovative solutions to ensure our product is available to our listeners wherever and whenever they want it. This we know is critical to our future.
As you know there is an industry-wide effort to bring the FM Chip to cell phones and provide free, portable FM radio through the NextRadio smartphone app. I'm happy to share that a consumer marketing campaign to create awareness amongst our listeners and introduce them to the concept is launching Monday, February 23rd.
If you would like to be part of this effort, you can help bring this message to your listeners; this NAB-led campaign is now available to you to play on the airwaves and share with your audiences. You can access the new NextRadio and FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org. Additionally, feel free to create customized spots that are localized for your stations and listeners.
We at the RAB are excited about NextRadio as we share its capabilities with advertisers and see first-hand their enthusiasm about our medium and its enhanced advertising opportunities.
Working together in support of radio on all platforms, we will have a stronger voice for radio and one that ensures our future and place in listeners' lives.
Thanks for your consideration of this effort.
President and CEO
Subject: NASBA - NextRadio Campaign to start on Monday
As you all know, this is my final week as President of NASBA. It has been my pleasure to serve in this role, and I know that you are in great hands with our incoming President, Kent Cornish. We have made tremendous progress this year on a number of issues facing our broadcast community, and before I officially turn the reigns over later this week, I take this opportunity to encourage you all to support a very important initiative – NextRadio.
On Monday, February 23, an industry-wide marketing campaign will launch to support FREE, interactive FM radio in smartphones and the NextRadio app. This hybrid FM technology has been developed in partnership with NAB Labs – the innovation arm of NAB to meet the demands of the digital world. NextRadio creates cutting-edge interactivity to enhance our already-great audio content, and does it without draining our audience's battery life or data plan.
The campaign directs listeners to www.freeradioonmyphone.org, a website designed to educate Americans about one simple fact – there is a chip inside their smartphones capable of tuning to free FM radio, if only their wireless carriers would choose to activate it. Free FM radio in smartphones not only provides quality, free audio entertainment via local radio, but also can save countless lives, with broadcast radio's ability to alert audiences about vital emergency information, even when cell phone networks are down.
An activated FM chip in every smartphone is our key to staying readily-available and connected with our communities. The NextRadio platform is our key to future audience and advertiser growth with a renewed perception of what broadcast radio means. Together, these initiatives create a vibrant listening and advertising ecosystem for the entire industry.
If they haven't already, stations will soon receive orders with commercials for NextRadio and FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org<http://FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org>. They can also visit this website for spots and traffic instructions: www.NextRadioApp.com/campaign<http://www.NextRadioApp.com/campaign>.
Thank you again for supporting this important cause for the continued success of the Radio Industry.
I look forward to seeing you in DC.
My very best,
Michelle Vetterkind, CAE
President & CEO
Wisconsin Broadcasters Assn.
44 E. Mifflin St. Suite 900
Madison, WI 53703
To: All radio stations
From: NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith
Subject line: NextRadio Marketing Effort to Launch Next Week
I'm pleased to announce that on February 23, NextRadio is launching a national marketing campaign to promote the availability of FM radio on mobile devices.
Because this technology is widely supported by our members and beneficial to the future of radio, the National Association of Broadcasters is supporting the NextRadio campaign. A wide variety of produced spots are available, and each station should evaluate and select the spots that best align with their business interests.
NAB has long advocated for free, broadcast radio in mobile devices. NAB Labs, our technology innovation arm, has worked hand-in-hand with many radio partners to further the development of NextRadio, the only app currently providing listeners with a hybrid FM experience on their smartphone.
NextRadio utilizes over-the-air radio receivers in conjunction with online connectivity in smartphones to enhance the listener experience. You can learn more here. With more than 1.8 million downloads of NextRadio thus far, listeners are learning that they don't have to stream or incur data charges to get the local music, sports and talk stations they love.
But there's more work to be done to reach our more than 240 million weekly listeners. Your traffic or sales manager may have already received spots promoting NextRadio and the website FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org from your media rep firm. If not, please visit this website for spots and traffic instructions: www.NextRadioApp.com/campaign. Please schedule your choice of the spots to get the word out to your audiences.
This campaign is the fruition of leaders in the radio business working together to provide listeners with an exciting new broadcast radio experience that is dependable in times of emergency and provides the interactivity listeners seek. Please help us by uniting in this important effort to secure a bright future for radio.
Gordon H. Smith