Slacker hopes to make your internet radio more like traditional AM and FM radio — but not in a bad way. At CES on Tuesday, the company announced that it will carry not only programs from American Public Media including “Marketplace” and “The Current,” but also a full-fledged station from The Weather Channel that carries (you guessed it) news updates about the weather in the listener’s local area.
Slacker adds new preset stations fairly regularly, including stations curated by specific artists. The part that really made us prick up our ears was about how users also have the option to add these weather updates to any station — and that includes the ones users make for themselves out of artists, a group of artists, or even specific tracks. Starting in “early 2012,” this new weather feature will be available to all Slacker users, regardless of whether or not they pay for the service, which comprises free internet radio; Slacker Radio Plus; and an on-demand music service along the lines of MOG, Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody.
A partnership like this is a two-way street, of course; The Weather Channel seems excited to have a new outlet for its news nuggets.
“This partnership will enable The Weather Channel to expand our reach and deliver weather content to Slacker Radio listeners when and where they want it,” said Mike Pons, vice president and general manager at The Weather Channel Local Group. “Slacker is taking an approach to Personal Radio that is unlike any other service and we are happy to be a part of it.”
This isn’t earth-shattering news, but it’s a step in the right direction for internet radio. RadioFreeWorld, a clever hack we spotted at TechCrunch Disrupt, works somewhat along the same lines by bringing web articles and conference calls to the car radio, so perhaps this will turn into a trend.
From our point of view, this has been a long time coming. “Personalized radio” should be, well, personalized, and music that reflects one’s taste is just one part of that. Slacker’s integration of these weather updates positions it nicely as a form of internet radio that’s aware of your surroundings; hopefully this is just the beginning of this sort of thing.