Thursday, September 8, 2011

Smartphone Radio Apps: i♥radio

As I've said before, I can't drive without music.  Counterintuitive as it may be, music helps me focus more on the tasks I'm accomplishing.  Now, although the previous sentence is very true, it is also a fact that when I'm using my iPod, I have a tendency to fiddle around with it -- browsing through songs, going back to favorite sections, looking at album art -- which is extremely dangerous to do while driving.  For this reason, I rarely use my iPod while driving.  Strictly for long trips where I know I'll be in areas without 3G coverage, which is practically everywhere along I-10 between Tucson and Cruces.  As a result, I rely heavily on the kindness of the local radio stations.  And here begins my plight.

Fundamentally, I enjoy listening to the radio.  I like the witty banter of the hosts, I like the idea of someone -- theoretically, a "DJ" which in my book should be like a music expert -- pointing out new music I haven't heard before and setting a flow for my day, and I like being able to request a song I have a capricious whim to hear, especially if I don't want to buy it.  That being said, I can't stand it anymore --my local radio station sucks.  It's total and complete sh*t....and I'm trying to be nice.  There are essentially five music channels in our town - pop, oldies, country, christian, and classical.  Usually, I listen to the pop (i.e. the "modern" music station) but lately, I've been finding myself switching to the classical and oldies stations more often.  This has spurred my quest to find the best (and hopefully free) radio app for Android.

I've been working with Jango, which was fine for awhile but now it's f*cking up to the point where there is no reason to even have it installed anymore.  In comes i♥radio to the rescue!  Now, for those of you who on the off chance haven't heard of it, i♥radio is an app that allows the user to stream live radio shows from across the country.  Now, I know what you may be thinking -- with actual radio comes a sh*t ton of advertising.  The thing about the app is that a fair amount of the stations available are truly Internet radio -- independent or contracted DJs hired to play shows specifically for the Internet.  On these particular stations (I've been listening to LAs 98.7) the amount of advertising is very limited and the listener does get to enjoy long blocks of music (as long as perhaps an hour long) before you hear a short ad space that is probably advertising the i♥radio app anyway. 

In my experience, this is kind of like getting my cake and being able to eat it.  I can enjoy the selection quality a DJ offers -- because, if you haven't noticed, Internet radios that rely on a program to generate a selection tend to be repetitive -- while at the same time not having to hear ads every three songs.  And, take notice -- this is just the current version of the app.  A new and improved version is supposed to be released around the time of the i♥radio music festival on September 24-25th in Vegas, an event that has a substantial amount of industry and celeb support.

This app is definitely worth a try if you're looking for a free music app for your smartphone.  It's available for Blackberry, Androids, iPhones, and Windows 7 Phones.

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