Grace Digital Radio have teamed with audio industry disruptor Michael Robertson and his newest startup, DAR.FM (Digital Audio Recorder). The integration of the two technologies means that owners of the Grace hardware can now use the DAR website to queue up talk radio shows from all over the country, the dial and the 24-hour broadcast schedule to be played on-demand, including with fast-forward and rewind functionality.The manufacturers of the
"Radios have historically been speakers where broadcasters control what blares out," Robertson writes on his blog today about his first partnership with a digital radio manufacturer. "A new day is upon us where listeners are wrestling control away from broadcasters and can now control what comes out of their radios. "
Robertson, whose controversial career is best known for music locker and lawsuit magnet MP3.com, launched DAR.FM in February. He contends that this new service is wholly in the clear legally, but it's already come under some criticism for free-loading on the streaming costs faced by the radio stations he enables consumers to record.
Once again, however, Robertson has created a service that's sure to please consumers. Making talk radio a media more under control of listeners sounds cool and may work better at popularizing digital audio content than podcasting has, with its user experience challenges. ITunes, the dominant podcast subscription technology available, does not make the whole experience much fun.
Could technology like DAR, in a variety of consumer technologies like the Grace Digital Radio, lead to a convergence of traditional radio and podcasting in a more compelling offering? I think it might.