PRX set to launch overhaul of Public Radio Player iPhone app

By Ben Mook

Screen shots from the forthcoming update to PRX's Public Radio Player.

Screen shots from the forthcoming update to PRX’s Public Radio Player.

Four years after the first iteration of PRX’s Public Radio Player iPhone launched, a complete, “ground-up rewrite” is ready, with features including a prominent “donate” button and the ability to download content for listening off-network.

PRX announced the features of the newest version of its app during a conference call with stations Jan. 10. Director of Technical Projects Matt MacDonald said the overhaul’s goal was to continue to make the app one that individual stations without resources to build their own would continue to view as theirs.

The Public Radio Player app, which is only available for Apple iOS devices, offers up thousands of stations streams, programs and podcasts from PRX, NPR, PRI and APM. The first version debuted in 2008 and was last updated in December 2010. MacDonald said version 3.0 of the app has been worked on sporadically over the last year.

“This was the first app we built, and we kind of pushed it aside somewhat as we worked on other things over the years,” MacDonald said. “So, it’s nice to be able to revisit it and freshen it up. And, this go-round we wanted to focus on nailing the user experience.”

One of the biggest features of the new app is the donate button, which will launch a Web link to  stations’ pledge pages. The alternative to launching a hyperlink would have been to run it through Apple’s iTunes store as an in-app purchase. Doing so, though, means Apple would take a cut of the money collected and limit personal information passed along.

“While I would be open to the idea, I think that might be kind of a tough sell to many stations,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said the app would be submitted to Apple for approval Jan. 11.  Assuming favorable review, he said that could put the updated app in the iTunes store by the end of January.

  • Jon Kalish

    Did it occur to you, Ben, to ask why no Android version of the app was being created? I believe there are now more Android phones out there.

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