You can finally hear WFMU, live or archived from a web-enabled cellphone or mobile device. If your phone or PDA is web-enabled, you can access our mobile offerings from wfmu.org/mobile, but bear in mind that this page only looks right on a very small screen. Our mobile FAQ page holds up better on the big screen and might also answer more of your questions.
Right now, we're only dipping our toes in the field of cellphone streaming, and our streams, archives and mobile pages are only compatible if your phone or PDA uses the Palm OS or the windows-based Pocket PC operating system.
So what good is this, you're asking? If you work for a company that blocks our streams and archives, as more and more do these days, you can listen to WFMU, live or archived from your phone. Of course, it's going to sound a lot better if you plug headphones into it. Over Christmas, I was listening to the station live while driving around the midwest, running a wire from my Pocket PC into my car's cassette deck. I've also listened to our new web-only morning slot while driving to work in the morning. Right now, the only archives that are accessible are our MP3 archives, and then only if you've ponied up for broadband wireless access.
I've long been a skeptic about cellphone streaming. My thinking was: streaming is a fragile technology, and cellphones are a fragile technology - if you put them together, then you'll get a service that will really stink! But I was completely wrong. While driving around Hudson County, New Jersey, I've found that my Pocket PC can get a solid streaming signal from WFMU (on the EVDO network) in spots where I can't get a regular cellphone signal at all. And the whole idea of audio streaming lends itself better to deadspots than a live, real-time telephone conversation: with a stream, the phone just uses audio it's already buffered when it hits a dead spot, but with a real-time telephone conversation, the line has no choice but to go dead.
There's been a lot of talk about a new cellphone streaming format called 3GP, and we might start streaming with 3GP in the future as well. Stay tuned.