Friday, April 25, 2008

My Ideal Mobile Streaming Audio Solution for My Commute

This morning, I was musing over something that I wrote last night:

If you've followed my tweets and my blog posts, you know that I listen to the radio a lot. But guess what? 95% of my radio listening is done in my car while I'm commuting to and from work....

[M]y commute could even be free of FCC-controlled radio, and I don't have to buy Sirius or XM. Although connection speeds are a little spotty, I can pick up on my mobile phone and listen to that in my car if I so desire. As network options and speeds increase, a number of other options will be available for the commuter.

I began second-guessing myself today, wondering if I was full of caca. So I figured I'd try something out. I took my phone out, got into hands-free mode, and (before driving) went to the Wireless Edition web site, selected the "Windows Media" media type (my phone has the Windows Mobile operating system), and started listening to the Eurodance station, keeping it there for my entire commute to Orange County.

Things worked fairly well. I only lost my connection three times (at White, Yorba Linda, and the 91), but other than that I enjoyed some radio that the FCC over the air radio stations wouldn't provide me. But (Digitally Imported, Inc.) is more than happy to do so.

Well, I enjoyed myself...but there's one local thing that I missed - the traffic. Not that I needed it today on Friday light, but it would be nice to have.

So this got me to thinking: if I were to exercise my Imperial powers and command that my preferred mobile streaming audio station be created, what would it contain:

  • My ideal mobile streaming audio solution would allow me to either play songs from a playlist, or play songs from the genre(s) that I select. Sometimes I only want to hear certain songs, while other times I'm open to hearing other things. supports the former option, while both and LAUNCHcast support the latter. Give me the choice.

  • My ideal mobile streaming audio solution would announce the names of the songs. Yes, I know that you can look at the or or LAUNCHcast screen and see what song is being played. But that doesn't really help me when I'm driving. Although I'm not a fan of the music on...the KOST, I do appreciate that they always announce the names of the songs that they play. (Or at least used to. Dunno if they still do.) A quarter century ago when I was broadcasting at KRRC, I'd always make a point of announcing the songs that I played. Perhaps this feature could be toggled on and off for those who DON'T want to hear the names of the songs. And by the way, I'd be perfectly happy with a computerized voice announcing the song names; I don't need Rick Monday doing it for me.

  • My ideal mobile streaming audio solution would allow me to optionally intersperse local content. Since I'm going to be using this during the morning commute, I'll want to get the occasional news, weather, sports, and traffic report. And as long as I'm exercising my Imperial preferences, I don't want "L.A. Basin" traffic; I want MY traffic. Give me a traffic report tied to the drives that I've set up at And yes, I know that I can access all this stuff on my mobile phone, but I want to get to it in a hands-free way. Incorporate it into my streaming audio.

  • My ideal mobile streaming audio solution will be available on all phones. I've previously noted that my phone takes Windows Media format, but I realize that not all phones do. provides its streaming audio in three formats; my ideal radio station should cover multiple formats also.
For all I know, I may be able to construct my ideal streaming audio solution today, though I doubt it. However, it does suggest ways in which content providers can allow distribution of their content in an audio format that can be accessed via a streaming audio feed.

At the same time, I'm wondering if there's a good source for LOCAL streaming audio that's accessible on a mobile phone. And yes, I'm aware of the directories accessible via, but most of the stations listed for California are over-the-air stations, some of which I can pick up on my regular radio anyway. (Interestingly enough, does list mobile streaming feeds for Air America, K-LOVE, and Radio Disney.)

Just out of curiosity, do any of my readers have a favorite Internet radio station with local content?

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