Radioplayer is Finally Coming to Canada. This is a Big Deal for the Industry.

It used to be that the only radio stations anyone could tune in were the ones in their local area. FM stations had a range of 100 miles on a good day. AM stations could reach further (especially during winter nights thanks to something called “ionospheric skip”) but were hampered by inferior audio quality.

The first opportunities to listen to faraway radio stations came with cable TV. Some providers provided a tier featuring stations from across the country. (Back in those days, I used to get calls at CFNY-FM/Toronto from places like Vancouver from people who listened through their TV.) But the big breakthroughs came with the Internet, starting with RealNetworks, which created RealAudio so that founder Rob Glaser could listen to play-by-play of his favourite baseball games.

From there, radio stations started streaming through their websites, issuing dedicated apps and being aggregated through applications such as TuneIn Radio. And lest we forget companies like iHeartRadio who created delivery systems for their stations (Bell has iHeartRadio Canada; expect to hear a lot more about them in the coming days.)

A few years back, UK broadcasters got together to create Radioplayer, a site that put all British radio–some 400 stations–in one place on desktops, mobile phones and (presumably) car dashboards. This was a pushback against sites like TuneIn, which, while effective and efficient, took control of streams away from stations.

Canadian broadcasters took note and began to work towards launch Radioplayer Canada. That time has arrived.

radioplayer-logo

From the press release:

Canadians, this announcement will be music to your ears! A free app is on the way that will give listeners from coast-to-coast access to nearly every style of music, news, talk, and entertainment content from close to 500 stations on any connected device, at any time of day, from anywhere.

Radioplayer, a UK based digital radio streaming service, has joined forces with Canada’s leading radio broadcasters to bring Canadians free, easily accessible digital radio on any connected device. Launching later this year, Radioplayer will allow Canadians immediate access to their favourite English and French entertainment, news, sports and talk radio stations powered by 15 Canadian radio broadcasters. Launch date to be announced in the coming weeks.

Read the rest of the press release here.

Here’s a list of participating Canadian broadcasters:

  • Central Ontario Broadcasting
  • Clear Sky Radio
  • Cogeco
  • Corus
  • Durham Radio
  • Golden West
  • Harvard Broadcasting
  • Larche Communications
  • Newcap Radio
  • Pattison, Rogers
  • Rawlco Radio
  • RNC Media
  • Saskatoon Media Group
  • Vista Radio

Bell’s 100+ radio stations aren’t part of this, of course, because they have iHeartRadio.

Let’s get this thing launched–and let’s make sure it ends up on the dashboard for infotainment systems in cars. In a prominent spot, too.

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

6 thoughts on “Radioplayer is Finally Coming to Canada. This is a Big Deal for the Industry.

  • September 28, 2016 at 10:13 am
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    So should I scrap my Satellite radio?

    Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 10:44 am
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    Interesting, but from an end user aspect (or even the broadcasters for that matter) how is this any different from using TuneIn?

    Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm
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    The problem I have with current streaming radio stations in Canada is that they are often low bitrate. For example, there are several Ottawa radio stations streaming at <64kbps (both mp3 and AAC). This makes some sense for data conscious mobile users, but for home use they need to offer higher quality to make it worthwhile.

    Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 3:53 pm
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    @LugNutz, exactly my question, not sure how i am better off then TuneIn already, But if they start putting this tech into ever new car and after market audio system, that might be better.That being said, how does the bandwidth work, how much data does it suck up?

    Reply
    • September 29, 2016 at 10:15 am
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      Like any streaming servicei assumeits going to use a bit of data which makes it better to have high data or unlimited. Maybe the mobile providers who allow unlimited streaming using apps they approve, will soon make it one of the approved apps

      Reply
    • September 29, 2016 at 5:58 pm
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      Tunein = aggregating then monetizing streams they are not paying broadcasters for. Interesting business model! Canadian broadcasters have no control, ownership or influence with tunein.

      RadioPlayer = cooperatively operated by the Canadian radio industry for the Canadian radio industry. The industry in control of the solution.

      Regarding quality of streams: bit rate has a direct correlation to the cost of the bandwidth broadcasters use to deliver the stream to users (and of course the user pays on the receive side as well)

      Reply

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