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Airwaves: August 7

NPR on your iPhone

It would seem to contradict common sense, but one of the prime movers and shakers for furthering technology in radio is National Public Radio.

NPR? The organization known primarily for news and talk programs -- and just to get a dig in, for stealing college stations away from students -- does technology?

Absolutely. In fact, while the jury is still out on the future viability, it was NPR that pushed the industry into accepting multiple station streams when HD Radio was still in development. Without the influence of NPR, the extra HD channels would never have materialized.

Now NPR is expanding ever more into the rhelm of iPhones and iPods, and is in the process of developing a mobile application called the NPR News App that will offer the iPhone and Touch users the opportunity to both read and listen to NPR’s award-winning news coverage, curate their own audio playlists, tune in and bookmark a station for its internet streams, and listen to the most recent stories from the vast array of NPR programming ... all in one easy to use application.

No word on when it will be availability, but all sources say “soon.” Whatever that means...

Satellite Phones

Sirius/XM Satellite Radio has also gotten into the iPhone application business, with their own app that will allow you to listen to 120 channels of satellite radio on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Unfortunately if you want to hear Howard Stern, you have to look elsewhere. Conspicuously missing from the available channels is Sirius’ Howard 101. Also missing in action: Major League Baseball, NFL football and NASCAR; the obvious similarity between them all is signed contracts that prohibit their availability on the mobile app.

Too bad, really. The app makes the best portable satellite radio receiver you can find ... no antenna needed, no long wire that needs to see clear sky; all you need is a good connection to either an AT&T cell tower or the internet. It wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, as I listen to other Sirius content, usually. But I can see where it would be a huge problem for some.

While I have not checked it out for myself -- I don’t own an iPhone or an iPod Touch -- I have been told that with an application called PocketTunes, you can listen to Stern through the Sirius website. If anyone would like to verify this for me, I’ll continue to monitor the situation.

It’s a Festival!

KTWV The Wave (94.7 FM) will present its 13th annual WaveFest concert ... I’m sorry, the Mercedes Benz WaveFest concert ... next month at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park.

Scheduled for Friday, September 25th are Brian McKnight, Al Jarreau, David Benoit, and James Torme. Saturday will feature Jesse Cook, Vanessa Williams, and Kenny G. You can purchase tickets at Ticketmaster, The Greek box office,, or through the Wave’s website,


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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