Mega music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora may be all the rage nowadays, but their services are targeted strictly at those with cool smartphones and data plans. However there are still millions of people out there who use plain old regular cell phones, without data or other fancy features, so it’s good to hear about innovative mobile streaming techs which are trying to cater to those living on the other side of the digital divide.
ZenoRadio is one such service. The company offers streaming radio stations which are accessible via a phone call, no expensive data plans needed. Of course the listener uses up their call minutes, but increasingly there are call plans which give unlimited local calls per month, and for these users this radio service is ideal.
Anybody can set up their own radio station for free, and once they sign up, their radio stream is allocated a free telephone number which subscribers can call to listen in. It’s exactly like a standard web streaming service, except you dial a phone number instead of using an app or data connection via the web. The company has initially targeted niche market segments (e.g. Christian Radio) and immigrant radio which caters to the millions of displaced souls who want to stay in touch with their home country in the native language.
It’s up to the station to sort out their own streaming system (but if you’re clever you’ll be able to find free open source options like Airtime and Icecast, which will give you everything you need) and once they’re set up, all they have to do is supply their streaming ULR to ZenoRadio, grab and circulate the telephone number and they’re up and running.
The service is US only at the moment, and there is a free Android app which makes it easy for users to manage a number of their favorite stations. We’re fascinated by the idea of retro style dial-up radio, because it makes absolute sense for a target demographic who probably can’t afford expensive smart handsets with 3G connections and all the frills. Definitely an idea to watch.