- Unique multitasking work-around
- Live radio feeds plus 35 podcasts
- Good audio quality
If you don’t want to shell out $15 to watch live video of Major League Baseball games on MLB.com At Bat, the ESPN Radio app ($2.99) offers a good alternative -- live radio broadcasts from the national ESPN radio network in addition to feeds from 17 local stations around the country.
ESPN Radio offers plenty of listening options
There are lots of listening options in the ESPN Radio app. If you don’t want to listen to live radio feeds, you can choose from one of 35 podcasts. These include popular shows like Pardon the Interruption, Fantasy Focus Baseball, and Baseball Today. Podcasts are updated daily around 5 p.m. Eastern. You can also listen to daily SportsCenter broadcasts, which are updated every 20 minutes with the latest news. There’s also a Spanish-language ESPN station.
Audio quality is very good and I didn’t encounter any stutters or buffering skips while testing ESPN Radio over Wi-Fi or 3G. It’s easy to switch between stations and each one takes only a few seconds to load. connections. There’s a news ticker along the bottom of the app; tapping on the headline pulls up the full story. Scores are also displayed.
The ESPN Radio app offers a unique feature that is sure to be a big hit. The iPhone doesn’t currently support multitasking (although it will soon). ESPN came up with a pretty clever work-around for this annoying problem. Within the app, tap the background tab and the ESPN Radio app will launch the audio player plug-in for the iPhone’s Safari browser (one of the few apps that Apple allows to run in the background right now). The feed will then start streaming via Safari, which you can leave while you text, email or chat on Facebook to your heart’s delight.
This is great news for baseball fans, because your iPhone won’t be held hostage for the entire length of a MLB game. In my testing, it worked pretty flawlessly and I didn’t encounter any decrease in audio quality while doing other things on my iPhone.
The Bottom Line
Try as I might, I wasn’t able to find any downsides to the ESPN Radio iPhone app. Some might think it’s a bit pricey, but the app works so well that any serious sports fan won’t think twice before shelling out $2.99. Audio quality is great and you can listen to sports games or podcasts in the background while you do other things. I guess there’s a reason why the ESPN Radio app is consistently among the top-downloaded sports apps in the iTunes store. Overall rating: 5 stars out of 5.
What You’ll Need