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Review: CHUM Radio for BlackBerry Smartphones

By Ryan Blundell on 6 Apr 2010 08:09 am EDT
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I hate to say it, but I was never a big fan of the selection of the radio station back in my home town. There was probably one station that I actually liked. Everybody has a favourite station, but I think it was the lack of variety that made me feel as though I had to choose. I used to see what I could listen to online, and found a station in Vancouver that I liked, the Beat 94.5. After moving across the country a few years ago to the West Coast, I could then access it much more easily. Now of course I want to have even greater access, but without carrying too many devices. I want to be able to go out for a walk or jog and only have to carry my BlackBerry. Of course we all know about the many radio applications that are available.

While listening to the Beat, I learned of another option, the CHUM Radio application. It’s an interesting twist, as you have access to a selection of CHUM Radio stations, rather than being presented with potentially thousands of stations from around the world. Let’s tune in shall we?

About CHUM Radio and the application

The CHUM Radio application was developed by StreamTheWorld. The company has designed similar applications for Corus Entertainment, Acadia Broadcasting Ltd, CBS Radio and Acir Radio (to name a few). CHUM is a division of CTVglobemedia; a Canadian media company. The application is currently in version 1.1, with a file size of just under 2 MB (hefty). BlackBerry App World has the following devices listed as compatible:

Curve Series (83xx, 85xx, 89xx)

88xx series

Bold (9000 & 9700)

Tour 9630


hmmm what to listen to

sort by...

What I like about this application is its simplicity. The options and settings are quite limited, so users won’t be bogged down and can concentrate on the music. If someone wants quick access to a specific station, or a family of stations, this type of application may be the best bet over other ones. Upon opening the application, a list of CHUM radio stations are presented. You will see their logo, slogan, name, frequency, location and genre. This list can be sorted by name, by city, by genre, or by proximity to you (near me). The Near Me option didn’t work at all, as it displayed a Nova Scotia station first (maybe it thought I was Bla1ze), followed by Calgary, London, then Vancouver. You do have the option to set a specific station as your default.


station page

Most of the stations have a stylized page in the application, other simply share the apps wallpaper. Listening to music is as simple as hitting Play from the menu. From there, you only had to wait 5 to 10 seconds for the music to play. I estimated that streaming through the CHUM Radio app was about 20 seconds behind the actual station. The CHUM Radio app makes use of AAC + format to deliver an impressive sound that is continuous.


station links

Available options vary by each station. Some offer a list of the last 10 played songs right from the menu. If you click on the Links option, you will see a selection of the stations pages you can visit via browser. Again, some stations may offer different links. You may see links to Shows, Events and Schedule for one station and Top 20, Gallery and Podcasts for another.

Conclusion

Sometimes all you need is to be able to listen to your favourite tunes. Keep it simple and keep it accessible. The CHUM Radio app would be perfect… if the Near Me option would work. It provides quick access to its various stations and their respective links. If you don’t see your station listed, you should check out StreamTheWorld to see if it’s supported. The CHUM Radio app is free and is available from BlackBerry App World.

Pros

  • Quick access to your favourite station
  • Various sorting options
  • Access to radio station links

Cons

  • 'Near Me' option doesn't work

More Info

Reader comments

Review: CHUM Radio for BlackBerry Smartphones

28 Comments
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Can anyone give me an estimate as to how much data streaming radio uses and how long that would be? I'm on a 500mb plan. Thanks

A nice addition to this review would be the facts that Chum has only a few stations available, mostly in Canada, and only a few formats. I downloaded/installed Chum, took a look, and when I couldn't find what I wanted, deleted the app.

Well worth the cost of free. I see a couple good rock stations on there, and more importantly for me the Team radio stations !!! Now how much data would a hockey game use I wonder ????

Got to work, went to see about downloading it only to learn the Storm is unsupported.

I guess I won't be listening to CHUM radio stations on MY BlackBerry :(

Great to listening to those Canucks games when you're not near your TV, computer, or in your car (i.e. hiking). But I too would be interested to know how much data I'd be using.

i was having problem with it that on the startup screen, i just get a "Q" written under blue background if you try to run it under wifi network. the fix i found is you have to run the application under your 3G network or carrier's internet connection. i dont know why but this is needed at initial startup, then you can use it under wifi.

Thank you n.s for the fix. It used to work great, then updated my OS and had that "Q" problem. Using my carrier's data connection made it work.

There is also Corus which app is made by the same company and offers other canadian radio stations, including some sports radio and other radio from Quebec.

Works great on my 9700...what is weird though is I can't move it from my downloads folder to my music folder...when I hit the Blackberry key nothing happens...

seems hit and miss for connection to a stream.

check out 89x in the mornings, "dave and chuck the freak" are great, for a censored show. its about the only time i dont have my car on satellite radio

I tried out the app a few weeks back and all it did was buffer for the half hour I left it running. Didn't hear a single song. I promptly deleted the app off my Tour.

I just found out a bug. If I leave the app running in the background, with streaming stopped, and answer a phone call, as soon as I hang up, the app starts buffering then playing again. Just a reminder not to leave the app running in background...

personally, i like slacker, and if you pay the nominal $50 or so, the features are increased. Great selection, great quality, beats broadcast radio apps hands down since most of the programing is blocked unless its a local celebrity. national shows are blocked on the app versions since their advertisers cant come to an agreement with the local stations so don't count on hearing rush, norray, or any other nationally syndicated show on your app radio!

Besides the issue of the network catering to sports, rock and other children's programming, its owned by CTVglobemedia and they already control enough of my media access.

Me, I'm waiting for Toronto's Jazz-FM (www.jazz.fm) to get a Blackberry streaming app. They already have one for iPhone.