Reviews | To listen, maybe broadcast

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Note: This piece originally appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle as part of the “Tuning In” series.

I sometimes hear from people who used to live in northern Michigan and have left the area. They tell me how much they miss listening to classic IPR, or how much they prefer it to the classic station in their new town.

Seasonal residents also tell us how much they enjoy listening to IPR when they’re here in the summer.

If people love listening to IPR classical music so much when they’re in the area, what’s stopping them from listening to it all year round, wherever they are?

There are many ways people can spread DPI from anywhere. The stream is exactly the same as our FM broadcast, but it’s just streamed online – via the IPR website, IPR mobile app, smart speakers or services like TuneIn.

Recently I wrote about how IPR competes with streaming services by being unique and capturing the sound and ethos of life and music in Northern Michigan.

The same way someone in Traverse City can stream a classic Chicago station, someone in Chicago (or Detroit, or Grand Rapids, or Berlin) can stream IPR and feel like they’re up north. Michigan every day.

I hear a lot of people wanting to feel like Northern Michigan all the time, and IPR streaming helps them do that.

Some of them especially enjoy hearing IPR’s January weather forecast for single-digit temperatures and double-digit snowfall while at their winter homes in Miami or Phoenix.

But even though a lot of people want to access the IPR when they’re not in the station’s FM range, they don’t, and I’m curious why.

Is it a financial problem? IPR streaming requires a stable internet connection and a computer, smartphone, tablet, smart speaker or other device, none of which are free.

Additionally, although a 2021 Pew Research study found that 97% of American adults own a smartphone, only 61% of American adults over the age of 65 own a smartphone. The average age of an IPR auditor is 67-68, according to our latest Nielsen report.

If people have a smart device, do they know how to access the IPR stream on it? Should we offer online or in-person tutorials on how to access the DPI stream?

Maybe it’s a notoriety issue? Even though we frequently say “distribute the intellectual property rights on our website or in the mobile application” on air, isn’t the meaning of this expression apparent or well exhausted?

Or maybe it’s a habit problem? I mean, I already know how to get in my car and tune my FM radio to my local station. I still have to stop and think and put my phone on a particular stream and then connect it to my car via Bluetooth.

So, I’m asking for suggestions and ideas on how we can help people access the classic DPI stream all year round. Let me know what you think at amanda.sewell@interlochen.org

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