Imported From Detroit
By | October 19th, 2011

From the “Department of Self-Aggrandizement,” please permit me to give props to the hard-working team at jacAPPS for their accomplishment that we’re celebrating this fall.

Three months after Steve Jobs opened the Apple App Store in the summer of ‘08, we hung out our mobile apps shingle with the urging of our digital guy, Tim Davis. And the result has been nothing short of spectacular. We just passed the 500th mobile app milestone, along with more than 11 million downloads – and rising.

Like everything else here at Jacobs Media, it started with radio and the notion that individual station brands deserved their own mobile apps. Surprisingly, some of radio’s biggest broadcasters took a different direction, building their own “umbrella apps” that featured hundreds of their stations.

You cannot underestimate the success of iHeartRadio or CBS’s Radio.com – apps that aggregate hundreds of radio stations under a big tent. Many smartphone owners swear by these apps, allowing them the ability to hear “favorite” stations, while providing a diversity of choice.

But our contention was that consumers are less focused on corporate brands than they are on hometown stations in their markets – or in cities where they once lived or visit. And for individual stations, the app experience has been powerful.

Early on, we developed apps for small market stations owned by individuals or small groups, like The Coast (KOZT) in Mendocino, CA. Their app lives right next to Pandora, Facebook, and Google MAPs on the iPhone desktop. Along with owner Tom Yates have been companies as diverse as Greater Media, Entercom, Cox, Bonneville, and many others.

jacAPPS has found a true partner in Christian radio, as well as public radio brands from NPR’s Car Talk to Atlanta’s WABE and Michigan Radio. C-SPAN Radio and other spoken word services have also found their way into both the Apple and Android stores as we expanded platforms and evolved with new smartphone operating systems.

That’s the power of the smartphone experience, amplified by the convenience and sheer fun of pushing an app and have something remarkable occur. And with apps, the ability to dish up an experience that the consumer cannot get on a mobile website is part of the charm that Steve Jobs understood, and the rocket scientists at Research In Motion never have.

At jacAPPS, our entire staff is Michigan born and raised, allowing a team of rust bucket natives to show off their talents every day. And while the majority of our apps have been designed and built for the radio industry – and we thank you profusely for your support – a growing number of projects have gone well beyond frequencies and call letters.

The 500th app, for example, is for Taste of Atlanta, a 10 year festival that celebrates the city’s restaurants and chefs. It is a great example of the versatility of the app experience, and how it enhances the lives of smartphone owners everywhere.

Our ability at jacAPPS to custom-design apps, and to apply the marketing and research disciplines that many of us in radio have practiced for decades is the “secret sauce” that explains our success to date, and our ability to grow this company over the next several years.

Thanks to all of you who have come on board and enjoyed the experience, as well as our jacAPPS staffers who are proving that something exciting is happening here in the Metro Detroit area that has nothing to do with carburetors or soul music.

If we can design an app for you and/or help you develop a mobile strategy, talk to Paul Jacobs.

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