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(DIGITAL) Broadcasters Guide To The Car Dashboard


One of the bigger announcements coming out of CES last week was from the Ford Motor Company saying that they have opened up their dashboard to app developers everywhere who want to enable their apps for in-vehicle use. Not just news for radio broadcasters, the newly announced Ford Developer Program was named CES Best in Automotive by Engadget. Now, Fords Developer Program opens up their dashboard for any broadcaster or app developer to achieve in-vehicle connectivity. Broadcasters can apply at
Over 1,000 developers have signed up in the first three days the Ford link was open. In addition to your ability to interface directly with Ford via the link above, the very first authorized development partner on the developer site is JacApps, so Ford is also giving you this resource if youd rather go that route.
Fords Scott Burnell, Global Lead for Business Development & Partner Management had this advice for radio broadcasters: Go to the link and create a profile for yourself. Youll see the program overview, what were looking for, what it requires to work with us, and what is appropriate content. In addition to your current radio app, Ford invites innovation. Broadcasters can now create new applications for the vehicle based on these new resources that allow for innovation.
Burnell also clarifies how your radio app appears on the car dashboard. We dont actually put the apps in the car dashboard. Your station app is still running on the users smart phone device. Ford simply locks out the users device screen and then we extend command and control from the application running on the mobile device to the vehicle controls such as voice command, steering wheel buttons, and radio buttons. This takes the device out of the hand of the driver in the vehicle, keeping drivers eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. 
The message from Ford is loud and clear. They hope broadcasters will embrace technology and own their listeners on this new platform. Listeners and car drivers both use technology and radio, so this is a beautiful marriage of radio and vehicle that is very natural. Broadcasters need to first embrace the shift in radio listening via streaming and mobile apps, but then this is a way to keep listeners listening in a responsible way in the vehicle.
Also, through a stations mobile app, time shifting of content via podcasts or other archived contact becomes a real opportunity. As Burnell said, the driver might say mobile apps/WRIF/Drew and Mike and the next thing you hear are podcasts from Drew and Mike on WRIF. Radio time shifting in the car is here.
One tidbit that was lost in the excitement is that Ford has also opened their dashboard API to all other automobile manufacturers, which has received tremendous early response from other OEMs. Therefore, an industry-wide solution is now possible if Fords AppLink is embraced by the other automakers.
Given Fords leadership position in telematics, that was only advanced even more by their new AppLink program, broadcasters would be wise to understand Fords AppLink and work with the market leader. Fords latest slogan, Go Further, couldnt be better named for broadcasters.

Mike Henry is the CEO of Paragon Media Strategies and can be reached at

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