Apple Patents System To Replace Live Radio Content

Apple Radio Broadcast Stream Insertion PatentApple has received a patent for a system that would enable a user to have content not of interest from a live broadcast or stream replaced with content stored on the device locally.

Systems and methods are provided for seamlessly switching media playback between a media broadcast, such as a radio broadcast, and media from a local media library. When an electronic device determines that an upcoming media item in a media broadcast is not of interest to a user, the electronic device can switch playback from the media stream to a media item from the electronic device local library. The selected local media item can be related to a previously broadcast media item to ensure continuity in the user’s listening or viewing experience. The electronic device can switch away from the local media item and return to the media stream when the media stream again broadcasts media items or segments of interest to the user.

The system as described by uses RDS or published broadcast listings to help the device “determine when an upcoming broadcast segment or media item is not of interest to the user.” Examples cited include the ability to skip a song, guest on a talk show, or commercials.

This seems more suited to television where Apple has been planning something for its AppleTV device. But what are the ramifications for radio? If the NAB continues its pursuit of mandatory FM chips in cell phones, Apple now has a way to nullify most of the reasons they would want to do so as the content will now be at the whim of Apple and the user. This has the chance to be the most disruptive technology broadcast media will have to face in the coming years.

  1. MattParker says

    This sounds like (1) technology in search of a need and (2) another patent infringement suit waiting to happen. If the idea is to make OTA radio more like Pandora, this still is not Pandora.
    The NAB’s continued push to force FM into smartphones show how desperate – and clueless – the industry is.

  2. Scott Gilbert says

    Matt, obviously you’ve never been somewhere after a devastating storm that left power out in a large area. When there’s no power, there is no power to cell towers either so no phone, no data, no texting. All you would have that would work in your phone would be the radio, which could help you find food, water and help.

    1. JBL says

      Oh please, Scott. You must be an NAB shill. If the power goes out turn on a battery operated radio, or go listen in your car. All you’re likely to find on the air is voicetracked automation anyway.

      1. John Davis says

        You’ve never been through a major hurricane. I had dropped my landline before Ike and my cell was worthless for a week and a half. I had no power for 9 days. My information came from a battery operated radio and a battery operated TV. The stations that usually voicetracked part of the time were live 24/7 before and after the storm, some simulcasting TV news during the thick of it. Since then I have a landline again and don’t expect my cell phone to work after the next storm, either.

  3. MattParker says

    I’ve been somewhere where there was power out for a large area. However, the cell phones still worked. I do recall power outages that took radio stations off the air, however.

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