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IPhone app serves up KWXX-FM's island music


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POSTED: Sunday, August 16, 2009

It could be the first of its kind for Hawaii — a station-specific iPhone application that allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to listen to island music on

KWXX-FM 94.7 in Hilo/101.5 in Kona

.

“;I believe it's the first radio station in the state with its own iPhone or iPod Touch app,”; said Chris Leonard, president and general manager of locally owned New West Broadcasting Inc.

Some apps offer several station streams such as iheartradio, which plays select radio formats from Texas-based Clear Channel Communications Inc. It includes Hawaii's (KDNN-FM) Island 98.5, said Chuck Cotton, vice president and general manager.

Leonard did not have a download count for the app, but described response since the Aug. 7 launch as “;very strong.”;

Users can click a link that will “;pull up our request line into their phone, and it'll dial our request line.”; Another button will send an e-mail to the station while the player plays, which listeners from Michigan, Canada, Sweden and other far-flung places have done.

The iPhone app e-mails are different from regular e-mails, so Leonard can differentiate their origin.

Eventually the station will be able to see the users' ZIP codes, “;and we'll see how long they listen”; but “;we won't see personal information other than what somebody would volunteer in an e-mail,”; Leonard said.

While extending the station's reach beyond the reef is “;a big part of where the future is heading for this business ... we know that the local audience is still our bread and butter. ... We have to super-serve our community.”;

“;As there are more and more media choices available to consumers, our focus on the needs, wants and desires of our listeners that are here, that is our advantage over other providers coming in from outside,”; Leonard said.

 

Frank and Mandy's reach to broaden

The “;Frank and Mandy”; morning show on

KUMU-FM 94.7

and the rest of the station's programming will fill the airwaves of its affiliate, KUMU-AM 1500, beginning right after midnight.

The exceptions will be some Saturday block programs and sports broadcasts, said Rick Thomas, director of programming.

Listeners had been e-mailing your columnist asking about the disappearance of local shows over the past month.

There was no mention of a simulcast when the “;Leahey & Leahey”; Monday and Friday morning show left the building early last month, said Kanoa Leahey, who is also sports director at KHON-TV.

“;Our decision to leave 1500 AM was more of a lifestyle decision than anything else,”; he said. With football season approaching for the sports announcers, “;we decided it was best to make the choice to take something off of our plate.”;

The station had recurring technical problems, where national audio feeds and local content would play at the same time, that “;no one would fix,”; said Jim Leahey. “;We had some really good shows, but the point is that, you know, you start pounding your head against the wall and it's not working out ... after a while it's time to 'aloha da buggah.'”;

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).