May 25, 2011 at 9:38 am

OPBmusic’s iPhone Music App Is Best of the Northwest

What is it with the Northwest region of this country? Oregon Public Broadcasting’s music channel isn’t the only radio station from that area to offer a fine music radio app, but it’s the best from the area and packs some funky bonus features to boot.

OPB News / Oregon Public Broadcasting (free) for Apple iOS devices lets you listen to this music station live, wherever you happen to be, as well as replaying local news, offering a smattering of local news headlines, and telling you what the station’s going to play later on in the day — a crucial feature, because you can’t access any of these music shows on-demand.

The app displays information about the current track, so you don’t have to wait for the DJ to announce it, but there’s no easy way to access the full tracklisting without following a link to the web site — extra step that feels a bit clunky. As for the DJs on the station who pick the songs, they tend towards the mellow, while their programming is varied if Portland-centric.

Bonus features include alarm clock that only works if the app is open (even on newer iPhones that support multitasking), but still, it promises a quirky way to start your day. The app also features a Buy button, which redirects the listener to iTunes to buy the song, although when we tried to use it, iTunes didn’t return any matches for the track.

Exiting the app also stops the stream, and there is no offline mode. That means you’ll need to leave the app on in order to use it, makes WiFi your best option (unless you have a generous or unlimited cellular data plan).