April 20, 2021

Gracenote Debuts App That Adds AM/FM Radio to CarPlay

Amedia indexing firm by the name of Gracenote recently showed off an app that could fix — or at least mitigate — a longstanding criticism of Apple’s CarPlay system.

Apple CarPlay does a lot, from navigation to podcasts to apps. But it’s never supported traditional AM/FM radio. Gracenote wants to fix that, and it’s debuted a new app at CES this week that could help bridge the gap between digital streaming and analog broadcasts for CarPlay users.

Gracenote’s demo app delivers a “rich radio interface” that’s integrated with Apple’s system, according to CNET. But it does more than just allow users to tune to local radio stations. The app will let drivers save stations to their favorites and browse pre-sorted lists of stations based on their location and genre.

Currently, drivers who want to listen to traditional broadcasts need to switch between the internet-based CarPlay system and their car’s built-in interface. But Gracenote’s solution allows a seamless experience that combines both internet streaming, navigation and communication with radio broadcasts.

This will obviously be incredibly useful for drivers who still listen to traditional radio. Even now, with the advent of internet streaming, local stations still command a significant audience. And while a number of platforms offer internet radio, Gracenote’s app seems to be the first to mix in support for AM/FM tuning.

As an indexing company, Gracenote compiles and tags digital music — but it also indexes radio stations across the U.S. with genre and location information. The firm’s app uses a clever interface to access that database, so users can easily find their favorite stations or browse new ones.

The app isn’t going to show up in the App Store anytime soon, however. Gracenote only provides its platforms to partners, rather than directly to consumers. As such, users will probably have to wait until an automaker implements the company’s solution into their own app that supports CarPlay.

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