The CBAA will soon launch a new app that will feature all of Australia’s community stations.
It will bring the community broadcasting sector into line with the Commercial and ABC Radio sectors, which have had aggregated audio apps for some time.
Called Community Radio Plus, the beta test version of the app is quietly being introduced to community broadcasters before its public launch soon.
We got a sneak peek at the app with a tour from the CBAA’s Andrew Morris, who demonstrated it for radioinfo.
The audio app, designed by All In Media (AIM), has similar functionality to the ABC Listen app, with choices of stations in a scroll bar across the top, followed by a favourites section. Below that is News, then recommendations and podcasts. The interface is based on user experience design which delivers the most wanted functions easily to users.
Andrew Morris demonstrates the main page from login in the video below. Users can choose to activate location services or input a postcode to tell the app where they are and it will prioritise their local stations based on how close each one is to the user’s location.
If someone wants to listen to stations from elsewhere, all they have to do is choose a different postcode and the app will change the selection of stations it displays. In the demonstration the app displayed 2MBS, 2OOO fm, East Side Radio and 2RRR in its first screen, chosen from the central Sydney 2000 postcode, and it offered National Radio News as the first choice of news service.
The new app also offers podcasts, pulling them from RSS feeds designated by the station. It also links to station pages.
For those stations with more sophisticated websites, the app can also interface with songs names, donation portals and message or phone interfaces.
While larger stations already have high quality audio streams and sophisticated websites, many in the community sector do not have the money or ability for the bells and whistles required for a digital presence. The new app will be of huge benefit to them as it brings them into the new digital audio environment.
Another benefit for the sector is that the backend technology developed for the app will also feed smart speakers, so that stations will be more easily accessible by voice command. Andrew Morris told radioinfo that hundreds of variations of stations names will now be recognised by smart speakers thanks to the new app interface.
We tried out the app for various stations and locations, including Bourke postcode 2840, which delivered 2WEB, CUZ FM as the nearest stations and also displayed Opal FM from Lightning Ridge and Wilcannia FM. Audio streams were stable and good quality while using the other navigations features of the app at the same time as listening. The app pulled the core information from 2WEB’s website efficiently and interfaced easily with the program schedule and the station’s social media accounts. It also gave options to call and interact with the station.
The Community Radio Plus app looks like it will bring the sector into the 2020s without compromising the core business of each station.
Stations that want to know more about the app before it is officially launched should contact Andrew Morris at the CBAA.
The pre-release beta test app can be downloaded here or at other app stores.