It’s Thursday, Must Be Radio: My week with Nabbit

Today you’ll find both radio (see why I talk radio each Thursday here.) and a new mobile application to go with it. A new media blogger’s double-play, sweet!

Back in early November Jumptech launched its beta version of Nabbit. This mobile application allows you to “tag” songs and commercials while listening to your favorite radio stations. I’m all about finding ways to build on the relationship between radio stations and their listeners so I was anxious to get up and running with this, especially since Jumptech is a company located right here in the Twin Cities. Hey, let’s here it for the home team. (Wow, two baseball references in one post.)

So, I head to the Nabbit website and sign up. Please keep in mind, though I do have pretty good knowledge of computers and cell phones I would not consider myself much better at installing software than the average user. Anyway, now that I’m registered, I go to set up my cell phone. Nabbit works with many of the new web-enabled “smart” phones. They have a list of models that the application has been configured to work with that provides an easy install…at least that would be the impression you would get. Of course, just my luck, my Treo 650 is not “easily” supported. Here is where the first “needs an easy button.” warning goes off. That’s cool though, remember, this is a “beta” version so the Jumptech guys are still shaking it out. After some surfing, downloading, installing and a few more e-mails to Nabbit, I’m up and running. This has become a 2 day experience. “Easy button.”

The beta version of Nabbit is active in Minneapolis and San Francisco
right now so I program the stations I listen to here in the Twin Cities
into the application on my phone. I’m off and “nabbing”. It’s really a
simple concept: hear the song or commercial you want more info about
and press the corresponding “preset” on your cell. Okay, it’s not as
easy as that on my Treo. I need to hold down my shift button and press
the number of the preset on my QWERTY keyboard…A pain in the butt when
you’re not driving, damn scary when you’re trying to navigate traffic.
“Easy button.”

Once I get home, I head to the Nabbit site and check my profile and I do indeed find the songs and commercials I tagged waiting. On the songs I can get a drop down menu that allows me to buy the song, stream it, or even find the songs around it by seeing a “playlist” of the station. The info Nabbit is using is supplied by Mediaguide and is fairly reliable. The only real issue I have is that when I took a shot at tagging something from the news/talk station I didn’t get anything related to the talk content. I got the name of the bumper music song or that last commercial played. I hope that future versions will include topics and info for talk formats. This of course means that the radio stations will have to key in some sort of content tags. I’d also like to see a quick way to add stations to your list without having to log on to your account. My wife and I heard a song we didn’t know while Christmas shopping and I thought, “Aha, I can impress her with my geekiness” only to find I didn’t have the station we were listening to on my list. Dag Nabbit!

As for me, I like the concept. The question I have, once all the barriers to use are torn down, is “will anyone (beyond early adopters) actually use it?” If they don’t use it, it doesn’t generate revenue. If it doesn’t generate revenue it doesn’t bring value to the stations, the advertisers or…well…Nabbit. I spoke with the heads of a few radio companies for whom I have great respect and many were skeptical. (Imagine, a radio person being skeptical.) The universal comment was, “It’s too complicated.” It is right now but the cell phone is becoming more and more the portable power of the net. Radio will need to be streaming and if the listeners are going to listen to radio on their phone anyway…

So, I’m not quite as skeptical.  As noted in other articles and press releases, anything we can do to further the relationship between station and listener is great. It’s one more thing radio can use to overcome its “push only” lot in life. I’m all for that. Jumptech; great start! Keep at it. I’ll be nabbing…

If you want to try Nabbit, and you have a data plan with your phone, go
for it. That is, if you live in Minneapolis or San Francisco. It’s free
and well worth investigating. There’s also this great little YouTube video…