Sports Geekery

Following Sports with Mobile Apps, Computers, & Gadgets

Latest EPSN Radio App Update Completely Screws Over Current Users

When ESPN released a new version (4.0) of it’s radio app earlier this month, I foolishly assumed it could only be a good thing. Silly me.

I had initially shelled out $2.99 for the ESPN Radio app about a year or so ago and had found it so frustrating I just stopped using it. The audio stream dropped very frequently and I was always having to reload the app (which loaded very slowly) and reconnect. I felt somewhat ripped off, but kept the app on my phone in the hopes that the app would eventually be improved.

Imagine my surprise and indignation when I discovered that I couldn’t just upgrade to the new version of the ESPN Radio app for free. I would be required (after a 14 day trial) to pay an additional $4.99 for the app. Yes, to continue using the ESPN Radio app that I already paid for, and that previous didn’t work very well, I needed to pay for it again.

UPDATE: ESPN has extended the free trial until August 1st. After this date, the live streams on the older version of the app will cease to work.

Now, I’ve long since stopped using ESPN Radio app in lieu of the free TuneIn Radio app that is available for both Android and iOS. (There is also an ad free Pro version that will set you back a whopping .99) It can do pretty much everything the ESPN Radio app could do, including podcasts with a recent update, and it can do it for free.

ESPN Radio App

To be completely fair, the new ESPN app is a big improvement over the previous version. I have been using it for the past several weeks and have had no issues. The interface is nice, it loads quickly, and all the features seem to work well. However, I still don’t see a reason to stop using the free TuneIn Radio app. Check out some of the promoted “features” of the new ESPN Radio app:

Podcasts – These were already available in the old version of the app as well as for free from iTunes & ESPN Pod Center.

Offline Listening – The offline shows are not complete broadcasts, but rather “Best of” versions of shows like Mike & Mike and Colin Cowherd which are usually about an hour in length. That is fine, but these “Best of” shows have been available for free in iTunes or ESPN’s Pod center for quite a while.

Pause and Rewind Live Radio (up to 30 minutes) – Admittedly, this is a nice feature, but this functionality was already available via the TuneIn radio app.

One area where I will give ESPN some credit is in with the “build your own station” feature. This allows you to add your favorite team or teams and have a personalized playlist of all the radio shows and podcasts that are relevant to your teams. On the downside, however, it’s not just simply short clips of player interviews or topics. (although some short clips are included) It also includes an entire show in the feed even if your teams is discussed for just a 5 minute segment.

One new annoyance is that now you are required to log in using an myESPN account. If you don’t have one already, you have no choice but to either create one or you can’t use the app. So much for anonymity.

So, if you haven’t already pushed aside the ESPN Radio app for TuneIn Radio, I strongly suggest you do so. Not only will you still get the same ESPN Radio streams, you’ll get a lot of other sports talk radio on other network as well. Plus, music stations for those times when you aren’t in a sporting mood. Frankly, I prefer to be able to jump back and forth from say Mike and Mike to Dan Patrick without having to even leave the app.

I do hold some fear that ESPN will begin blocking access to it’s stations by apps like TuneIn Radio. This is something that CBS Radio has already done and thus made popular sports talk radio stations in the CBS family only available via there own apps. (Which, I can’t help but add, are free.)

While I ‘m not against companies charging for their apps, charging $5 to purchase this app is a kick in the junk to everyone who has already paid $3 bucks for it. Especially an app that didn’t work very well and contained content you could get for free in other locations. If you want to charge new users, fine, but don’t double dip from the folks who already paid you for the ESPN Radio app.

The new ESPN Radio App isn’t yet available for Android, but we expect the fleecing of the Android users to be coming soon.

Downloads

ESPN Radio – You’ll get a 14 day free trial

iPhone: ESPN Radio – ESPN

iPad: ESPN Radio – ESPN

TuneIn Radio – Free, with a ad-free Pro version also available

iPhone: TuneIn Radio – TuneIn

iPad: TuneIn Radio – TuneIn

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