RadioPublic Podcast App Is “Rethinking Radio in the Mobile World”

It follows in the footsteps of Pubcatcher and NPR One November 23, 2016
BOSTON — Podcast startup RadioPublic has launched its eponymous iOS and Android apps, about six months after the public benefit corporation was created. Headed by CEO Jake Shapiro, the co-founder and former CEO of public radio distributor PRX, the organization’s leadership has a history of audio-centric, mobile-focused innovation (think Pubcatcher and the Public Radio Player app).
 
“Discovery is at the heart of this first RadioPublic release, and is part of our vision for rethinking radio in the mobile world,” Shapiro wrote in his introduction.
 
He cautions that the app is under active development and user feedback is still factored in heavily, but here are a few notable features:
 
RadioPublic seems to have a taken a cue from Google Now with what it calls a “a tailored set of cards’ driven by your listening habits and context”, first highlighting new episodes from shows users have already followed. 
 
The app also will offer a variety of playlists organized in ways reminscent of Spotify or iHeartRadio. These can be also shared outside of the app, with plans to enable shows to be embedded externally on the websites of publishers and podcasters.
 
However, it’s a little unclear how early adopters will be able to do a lot of this, since the app does not yet offer accounts. Apparently this element is in the works but will not ever be mandatory to emphasize privacy.
 
RadioPublic will also enable users to ask a real, human “podcast librarian” for a recommendation. However, like a traditional library, this on-demand feature is only available during certain hours. 
 
The app is built on RSS and therefore is an open platform. That means tech-savvy users can take advantage of advanced settings mode, which lets listeners code their own feeds with XML or OPML. Later, the app has plans to let users “migrate” other podcasts subscriptions to centralize it as a listening hub.
 
And in the ongoing quest to most effectively monetize podcasts, the developers say podcast producers can take advantage of the app without having to develop their own app or a blaze an uncertain trail. Rather, RadioPublic plans to offer extensions that publishers can use to promote engagement and create revenue. 
 
A version of this article was originally posted on the website of Radio World, a sister publication of Radio magazine.
 

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