I got absolutely nothing accomplished last week and I blame it on 680 The Fan in Atlanta.
Well, I just so happen to be a suffering Braves fan that got overwhelmingly caught up in the playoff run. Every morning, when I woke up, the first thing I did was push the 680 The Fan app on my iPhone to listen to each show’s take on the series against the Dodgers. You would have thought I was in heaven and just figured out I could actually listen to a radio station in Atlanta, while still being a time zone away.
But in the middle of all my blind excitement of not realizing my team was about to blow a 3-1 series lead, I realized that 680 The Fan has one of the most user-friendly apps I’ve experienced.
When I listen to a station online I want simplicity. Make it as easy as possible for me to listen. No ads, no extra clicks, make it easy for me to listen to your radio station. That’s exactly what 680 does. As soon as I click on the app, a LIVE button shines at the top right of the page.
But that’s not even the thing I loved most. The best part was, from the app, I could stream any of the hours from the shows I had already missed. So, even if I was listening to Buck and Hut, during a commercial, I could easily go back and hear what The Front Row had to say earlier that morning about the game. This is not a paid ad. I swear. I legitimately loved the attention to detail 680 The Fan shows to it’s mobile app. I’ll definitely be back, partly because of the great experience I had with the app.
But it also made me realize just about every single sports talk radio station, in some form or fashion, is streaming content throughout the day. That means stations are teaming with iHeartRadio, TuneIn, ESPN and Radio.com to give their listeners more options to listen. So it bears the question, who does it best?
I love this app. I use it frequently, because I think it might be the best streaming app out there. It allows no subscription and an easy listening experience. Plus I can easily stream all of the previous shows I missed. But how about a cool feature I couldnt find on any of the other apps?
On Radio.com, some stations, such as 104.3 The Fan can text or even call the station. So, if Zach Bye has a take on the Broncos I disagree with, I don’t have to Google the text line to the station. I can easily text in or call in to each show I’m listening to.
Radio.com has an alarm feature, which most streaming apps do, but I still don’t see where I’d ever use it. Still, this app is great. Extremely user friendly and easy to navigate.
It feels like you have to have a subscription on this app. If I find the station I want, I have to listen to an ad before it streams. If I want to skip to another station, there’s another ad I have to sit through. Yes, all these problems go away by subscribing to the premium feature, but why would I pay $9.99 a month when I can probably stream what I want in another space? Just out of principle, I wouldn’t give 10 bucks a month for something I can get for free.
TuneIn isn’t a bad app, in fact, there’s a ton of stations that fall under its umbrella, but having to listen to multiple ads gets tiring. Plus, there’s no special feature that sets it apart. It could definitely work on being more user friendly.
iHeart brands itself for ‘Now #1 for podcasting’ and I can see why. IF you open the app, any genre for a podcast can be found. I also like the fact that The Herd with Colin Cowherd runs on loop after the show is over. Plus, there’s even written stories and a direct link to the big topics Cowherd had earlier in the day. Granted, I do have to sit through ads a lot on iHeart, the app gives me a ton of listening options.
To eliminate ads, all I have to pay is $5.99 a month, but like TuneIn, why pay ads when I can consume the shows in other ways for free?
iHeart is definitely making strides to be better and more accessible in the sports radio space, but it’s really thriving right now with streaming music and original podcasts.
There’s rarely, if ever, any drawbacks to being under the ESPN umbrella. Granted, there’s nothing overly special local ESPN affiliates are getting from the network’s app, but they are getting an experience with no ads that cuts straight to the audio. The accessibility is easy and it gives the user what it wants – quick and direct access to the audio.
There’s literally no special features while streaming local stations affiliated with ESPN, but that beats having to listen to ads before listening, any day.
Odds are that your station falls into one of the four corporate apps that were mentioned. In a time where most people are working from home and fewer people are in cars, being accessible is as important as it’s ever been. The focus today should be how you make yourself available to an Amazon Alexa device or an iPhone that puts you and the listener just one tap away.
Sure, maybe you’re a station that has the highest ratings and most name recognition in the market. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be putting more focus into your online app. 680 The Fan has name recognition and heritage in the Atlanta market, yet Dickey Broadcasting sees it fit to have an app that is as user-friendly as possible. Remember, though terrestrial numbers may say you dominate the market, there are other people outside of the area that want to consume your content, too.
Make it easy for them.