If you live in an area where you can pickup FM Radio but you like to use your Phone to listen to music there is a way that you can without eating into your Data Caps.
Most Phones now have FM Radio Tuners and you can checkout if your phone does by reading the specs on your manufacturer’s website. If your phone does have a FM Tuner you will need an application to be able to tune to different stations and listen to them.
The app that I found on Google Play is NextRadio. The way it works is when you install it the app will ask you your zip code and then it will provide you with a list of stations in your area. Once the list has downloaded you will need to install your headphones to act as an Antenna for your tuner.
NextRadio will then poll your local stations and see what is currently playing if it can and provide that information next to the icons for each station.
When you click on the station you will be listening to it from the FM Radio and you won’t be downloading streaming music like you would with apps like iHeartRadio.
As stated in the app information on Play Store the NextRadio app is compatible with Android smartphones in the US on the following carriers: Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile. Some AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile phones. Coming soon on all AT&T and BLU devices.
I believe that they also have an app for iPhones however i do not know which models will work with it. You can also check the NextRadio website to see if your device is supported.
I live in a semi rural area and FM Coverage is just out of range of our nearest large cities. There are a few local FM broadcasts though and NextRadio showed 7 stations in my area. When I drive away from my home I will need to change my location to pickup other stations.
The app works as it should however it would be much nicer if there was a way to completely do away with internet connections.
If you go into the menu of the app you can bring up the frequency tuner I didn’t find any other stations with the frequency tuner that weren’t identified by the app but the tuner will allow you to scan up and down like you would in your car so finding new stations might not be that hard when you are on the move.
Don’t expect pure DVD quality audio from this app. It depends on your tuner and your headphones for reception so it can get a little flakey at times.
With that said it is still better for me to sometimes listen just to the FM Radio and not use my data for streaming. This is also an important backup solution because you should always have a way to listen for weather or other emergency alerts in your specific area instead of listing to commercial free music off the net from a distant webserver or live radio from a distant city.
I haven’t looked into all of the options of this app but I think it is a good solution for now. I am not endorsing its use but I am just telling you of an option you might have to listen to local live FM broadcasts without the need to stream the content and use your data quota or wifi.
I would guess there are other apps and phone makers really should provide their own since it is a direct interface to the basic hardware.