Hitch Radio, a new service that offers searchable broadcast radio stations at your fingertips officially launches today. The free service aggregates more than 20,000 radio stations across the world and enables users to discover and share music in real-time through Facebook and Twitter. Hitch Radio’s mission is to create a superior radio listening experience by combining social media and real-time search technologies with an iconic travel metaphor to transform the way you listen to broadcast radio with friends. Hitch Radio represents a royalty free music listening experience along with news, sports, and talk. The service will first be available on the Web, then iOs and Android apps and more to follow. Hitch Radio is funded through private investors.
The service appeals to all age groups and is especially geared to 14-29 year old “Millennials,” provides “Hitchers” a unique way to bring an unlimited number of friends on a real-time worldwide journey of free music, sports, news and talk. When consumers (Hitchers) share a ride on Facebook or Twitter, their friends can Hitch directly onto their Ride and join them in real-time by clicking on the link they post. Each time the Hitcher finds a new Ride; their friends will be taken with them as they virtually travel the world from stream to stream and city to city. While they are listening they can even chat about the DJ, music, sports, talk or news that they hear.
To use the service, audio adventurists can just sign-up at hitchradio.com via Facebook or create their own account to begin the social experience with global radio. Distinct from any other “radio” service in the market today, Hitch Radio was actually founded by radio people. So, instead of starting with the premise that radio is “broken,” they are invested in preserving all of the things that have contributed to the industry’s longevity: the DJ’s, personalities and the relationships that radio nurtures by serving local communities.
The problem with radio, as the founders of Hitch Radio see it, isn’t the product, it’s the antiquated distribution. Hitch Radio’s goal is to bring a worldwide audience to local radio stations. “Radio is still the greatest music and information discovery channel on the planet,” insists Hitch Radio’s CEO, Founder and former iHeartmedia (formerly Clear Channel) Radio executive, Ayinde Alakoye. “Hitch Radio will allow stations to take control of their digital destiny and interactions by allowing them to monetize their streams like never before, track behavior in real-time and convert listeners into station advocates.”
Hitch Radio is free for consumers. According to Alakoye, “our business is supported by advertising revenues, which unlike a music service, is a model that billions of radio listeners are already familiar with today. We’ll share our revenue with radio station partners who promote their participation with Hitch Radio on the air. Another great part of our service is that we’re not limited to just music. Hitch Radio is news, sports, comedy and talk”. A recent eMarketer report states 69% of the $429 million US mobile market revenues will come from advertising revenues.
“Hitchers have several ways to discover the great content of radio. They can use the map that has an integrated dashboard, new riders through social networking or our Ride Finder which lets them search by radio station and genre to start. Real-time artist, song and lyric search will be added soon,” states Stuart John, Chief Product Officer and former Product Manager for Skype Mobile. “We’ve also optimized Hitch Radio to be a great tablet experience whether it’s on a Surface, iPad or Kindle Fire”.
The service allows for intimate experiences with celebrities through “Star Hitching”, which allows artists to listen to radio and invite their fans to Hitch-a-Ride along with them in real-time whenever they may be enjoying the content. Hitch Radio is pleased to announce their first “Star Hitcher” is two-time Grammy winning recording artist, Melanie Fiona. The Canadian-born star has a fast-growing fan base of three quarters of a million combined Facebook and Twitter followers. The service will allow Fiona to connect with her fans in a more intimate way than has ever before been possible on social media. Fans will be able to share Rides she Hitches, while she is listening along in her dressing room before the concert, while relaxing at home or any other time she is enjoying live broadcast radio content.