Thursday, November 27, 2014

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RadioTime.com Hopes To Do For Radio What TiVO Did For TV

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A new website launches next week that could spark a renewed interested in traditional radio broadcasts. NY1 Tech Beat Reporter Adam Balkin explains in this preview of the service.

Can a new website do for radio what TiVo and digital video recorders did for TV?

“It consolidates radio programming from all around the globe - music and talk - and makes it very easy to find, and then listen to it when you like and where you like,” says Bill Moore of RadioTime.com.

RadioTime.com is, at the free level, very basically a worldwide radio listing similar to a TV guide. The $40 yearly fee, though, allows you to record webcasted shows and move them to a digital music player.

It's kind of like the recent phenomenon known as podcasting, though developers see a clear difference.

“The focus of the guide is real radio stations, licensed radio stations, so all of the licensed radio stations in North America and then about 20,000 outside of North America,” says Moore. “Seventy percent of those are music stations in any variety you can think of, and then spoken word stations, talk stations. You would press the record button and it would say, ÎDo you want to record one or all?’ and you say you want to record all of them. It shows up just like music with your mp3 software, it might be I-Tunes or Windows Media Player, and then of course it shows up on your portable mp3 players if you want to take it to go.”

Of course, we are all trained to wonder now when we use our computers to record something that we didn't really pay for, is that legal?

“It's absolutely legal,” says Moore. “The law is the same law that covers TiVo. You as a consumer through what's called the fair use law have the right to record that and use it for your own personal use anytime that you'd like.”

And though thousands of radio stations and even podcasts are available through RadioTime, some feel it's not necessarily a tool of music fans.

“Traditionally what people will do when they want to time shift something for content is that they'll listen to shows that are more about something - you know, ÎAll Things Considered,’ from NPR, one of those shows where it's topic driven,” says Lance Ulanoff of PCMag.com. “If you're really into listening to music you'll probably listen to your own mix on your iPod. It's a very interesting technology, it's a very interesting time to be listening to radio on the web because everybody's trying all sorts of different things, but we really don't know at this point how popular something like RadioTime is going to be.”

For those who are interested in the service for the music, know that that sound quality is considered one generation less than what you'd hear over the air.

- Adam Balkin
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