College radio programs could get additional exposure from a new application that allows users from anywhere in the world to find and listen to student-run internet radio stations from their iPhone or iPod touch.

The application, called the College Radio Tuner, is available free of charge from the iTunes App Store. Its creator, Backbone Networks Corp. of Worcester, Mass., says it released the software to showcase the growing IBS Student Radio Network, a collaborative effort between Backbone and the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System.

"The Student Radio Network provides community within and among [member] schools, and it enhances their ability to communicate with alumni, the student body, and their families," said George Capalbo, Backbone’s chief technology officer.

The College Radio Tuner allows users to scroll through a list of stations, then click on their choice to play live internet radio right on their iPhone or iPod touch through a Wi-Fi, 3G, or Edge network. The software automatically searches for and adds new stations as they become available. As of press time, there were 25 participating Student Radio Network stations, including those from Oklahoma State University and Methodist University, with more joining every month, Backbone said.

Besides streaming music and other audio to the iPhone, the College Radio Tuner also displays album or station image art, as well as embedded text with information such as the artist, song title, and album name. In addition, the tuner provides clickable links to the station’s web site; to the iTunes Store, where listeners can purchase and download the song that’s playing; or to a call-in phone number that the iPhone automatically dials to facilitate listener interaction and talk radio segments, Backbone said.

Backbone reportedly supplies the station-controlled automation software that drives the system, as well as central network hosting for all member stations. Stations can broadcast both live and automated radio material, including remote live coverage of school sporting events and concerts, Backbone said.


Backbone Networks Corporation

Intercollegiate Broadcasting System