Radio Apps a-plenty!

With Global releasing an app featuring their radio brands and spin-offs, are listeners being spoilt for choice or simply drowning in radio apps?

Gone are the days when you just listen to the radio on a good old FM stereo, having to make sure you tune it into the correct frequency to avoid the bleed from other stations. Now, with the digital age, radio is literally always at our fingertips.

We’re spoilt for choice, and that’s great. You only have to search ‘Radio’ in the App store to be shown hundreds of apps, some well known, some that a developer has made to try and bring all of the UK’s radio industry together (Even though there are apps for that already). The problem is, do we really need ALL these apps?

Global’s latest release of their aptly named “Global Player” app, includes their national collection of brands (Radio X, Heart, Smooth, Capital, Gold, LBC) and spin-offs of each depending on your mood. By the same token, the national brands already have their own individual apps. Surely the overall aim is to remove the individual apps from the app store and get listeners to download the one app?

Alongside that, many more smaller commercial stations have their own apps, the BBC have their own iPlayer Radio app and of course, Radioplayer plays host to all of these stations and more – and let’s not forget TuneIn which also holds all these stations as well as Community & Hospital Radio stations as well as some rather obscure ones too.

It’s fair to say we’re drowning, the radio app market is saturated, possibly like the industry itself in some ways.

So, if you’ve got heaps of apps on your smartphone or don’t quite know where to turn too, here are some app recommendations (In no particular order).

1. TuneIn
Many Hospital Radio stations and Community stations can be found on TuneIn. The app is easy to use and links in nicely with Facebook. The content of the stations vary depending on what you’re listening too, obviously. You can also listen to stations worldwide via TuneIn.


2. RadioPlayer
I’ve been using this app since it was released on mobile in 2012. This features all BBC Radio Stations and UK Commercial stations. It’s a partnership between the BBC and commercial radio, so there’s a vested interest on all parties to ensure their stations are on there. There are also a handful of Community stations on the app too and stations that you’d often find on DAB Digital Radio in a particular area too. The app is also easy to use with a clean interface and it’s full station list feature enables you to listen to any station from around the UK at a click of a button.

3. BBC iPlayer Radio
You’ve guessed it judging by the name, it’s simply BBC Radio stations here. A little annoying you have to sign in to be able to listen and download. I’ll be honest, once I had a little look around for half hour, I did delete the app based on the fact I can get these stations anyway on other apps in my phone.

4. Global Player
I briefly mentioned this in the opening paragraphs. The app is clean, fresh and easy to use. You’ll find all of Global’s national brands and their respective spin-offs. (For example, Smooth Relax, Heart 90s, Radio X Classics). The spin-off stations from what I’ve heard so far are not presenter led, but do have the usual imaging segues. Effort has been put into these to make them unique to each spin off station you’re listening too, incorporating the brand from the main station. No adverts on these spin-offs too… yet. Not bad going. You can also download your favourite national shows to listen too offline. Local content available per your location, inc. catch up.  A work in progress.

5. MixCloud
Not quite a radio app, but if you want to hear programmes that amateur and professional presenters and DJ’s have uploaded, then this is for you. The quality of the content varies depending on what you’re listening too but if you want to expand your horizons, consider downloading this first!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do we have too many radio apps on offer, or do we not have enough? What are your recommendations that I haven’t listed?

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