Smulyan: Yes, We Will Get NextRadio On The iPhone


And if that happens, with the popularity of the iPhone, the sky is the limit for NextRadio. And Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan will certainly keep pushing until he gets Tim Cook to flip that FM chip switch. NextRadio was the sponsor of the Wednesday lunch at the Radio Show in Nashville on Wednesday. That meant an opportunity for Smulyan to keep the pressure on broadcasters to continue to support and push NextRadio to their listeners. The more support the industry gives NextRadio, the better chance it has to grow and become the revenue game-changer for radio Smulyan believes it to be.

Smulyan told the crowd that, due to their support, NextRadio has helped activate FM radio in a smartphone on every carrier. He said progress is being made in reaching compatibility on every Android phone. “That’s 62% of the United States market. And, yes, we will get Apple too.”

And here’s what’s in this for broadcasters, according to Smulyan. “Not only do we gain FM portability for our medium, but we’ve also enhanced the listener and advertiser experience. Your station can now go everywhere your listeners go on the one device they carry with them 24/7. We built a platform that provides the best way to listen to your stations. With the benefits to your audience of two-way interactivity, we’ve given them the ability to see what’s on the air in your markets and to interact with your programming, all the while saving the phones battery life and without breaking their data plan. We are the free alternative.”

In addition to hearing about how great NextRadio is from executives inside the industry, we’re also starting to hear it more and more outside the industry. Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker has often spoken about its importance. Her colleague Davis Hebert said in an earlier panel on Wednesday that NextRadio could be the catalyst that brings new revenue into the industry to help it grow. And Smulyan says the NextRadio picture is becoming more and more clear to advertisers as well. “We can now pitch rich insights, that has been called the game-changer by major agencies, and pitch data about your listeners to prove what we have known for nearly 100 years—radio works. Advertisers expect radio sellers to provide data the way Facebook and Google and others do. Now, we give you that, too. In fact, because of our location-based services, we can do better.”

To keep the momentum going, radio stations need to push the product out to their listeners. And there’s no doubt many broadcasters in that room Wednesday could do a better job promoting the product, and give the NextRadio spots something more than a midnight to 6 a.m. schedule. Smulyan says that will benefit everyone in the industry. “By asking your FM radio listeners to tune into your FM station on NextRadio, we will continue to build scale and all broadcasters, from the largest to the smallest will make money. And they’ll have the tools to sell to their local audiences more effectively on the transparent platform that benefits every broadcaster equally.”

It’s also important for everyone to remember, and to tell their listeners, NextRadio is over-the-air radio, not streaming. There are no fees, no data charges and broadcasters do not have to pay performance royalties. Smulyan says the industry has come an incredibly long way with NextRadio by working together. “I thank every one of you. I urge you to get your listeners to download and listen to your stations on NextRadio to ensure your stations get more listening and your revenue increases with measurable results. That’s what NextRadio allows you to do. The future success of our industry is literally, in the palm of our hands.”

Read our cover story with NextRadio President Paul Brenner HERE.


  1. If NextRadio is available to 62% of the market, their actual performance as measured by listening hours is abysmal.

    Their own numbers, published at, show that less than 27 million hours of listening have been generated all time. That’s over more than four years of operation. In the most recent month, NextRadio generated only about 1.2 million hours of listening. On a per station basis, that’s about 75 hours, on average. Seventy-five total hours of listening for the average station on the NextRadio app. That’s what a station might get from just two loyal listeners in a month’s time.

    They have had almost 11 million downloads over four plus years. This means that last month they got only seven minutes of listening per download.

    Getting Apple to turn on the FM chip won’t solve the root problem. Despite years of promotion and awareness driving campaigns for NextRadio, listening just isn’t there.

  2. My bother-in-law still runs with his Blackberry device. As a result, he gets to dial around the radio market and tune in to local signals – which he does constantly.
    Even though there are (relatively) few “local” references during an hour – as he explains it – there are enough to confirm that he is engaged in a local effort. He finds this to be comfortable and quite satisfactory.
    NextRadio is not only important – it is essential for our future.
    I am reminded of being a kid and having my transistor radio dangling from the handlebars of my bicycle – “and the hits just kept on comin’!”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here