Introducing Anchor, the first true public radio

Feb 9, 2016 · 4 min read

Today, we’re proud to introduce Anchor, the world’s first true public radio. Our iOS app, available for free on the App Store, makes it easy for any voice in the world to start or join a conversation.

In early 2015, we realized, like many others recently had, that audio was having “a moment”. Between Serial, NPR, iTunes, Grantland (RIP), Spotify, Stitcher, Pandora, Audible, SiriusXM, and countless other purveyors of great voice content, audio was more popular than ever before. 2016 is poised to be even more explosive for the medium, as audio truly goes mainstream.

But despite this growth in the consumption of audio and widespread adoption of smartphones (most of which have a microphone), broadcasting your voice is still incredibly challenging. Your options are limited: you can either be a professional radio broadcaster, or a podcaster — both paths fraught with countless hurdles. And most frustrating of all, traditional radio isn’t interactive. You can listen all you want, but you can’t talk back. This struck us as a major deficiency of a medium that should be able to flourish in the age of the internet. And that’s where Anchor comes in.

Broadcasting is as easy as talking on the telephone.

Recording voice in Anchor is incredibly easy; you simply hold your phone up to your ear, just like talking on the telephone. Best of all, anyone can interact and respond, creating instant discussions that were never before possible on the internet. Once published, conversations can be shared as podcasts, and heard all over the web. They can even be embedded, like this:

Can’t view the above audio player? Launch it in a new window.

Listening is just as simple. When you’re not talking, you can hear anyone from Anchor’s global collective of personality. Discover humor, knowledge, discussion, and debate through a continuous stream of audio, just like listening to the radio. You just tap play, put your phone back in your pocket, and listen. Here’s a discussion about the latest Star Wars episode. And a conversation between strangers about their very first screen-names on AOL. Or an interview with Tinder’s VP of Design about the psychology of great dating apps.

Hear a continuous stream of audio, just like listening to a podcast or the radio.

Anchor is true public radio. It’s what radio was invented to be over a century ago — a way for people all over the world to communicate in our most natural state: talking and listening. It’s full of information and inspiration, debate and discord, comedy and laughter, and most importantly, authenticity.

We couldn’t be more excited to democratize radio, and to enable discussions between people who otherwise would never meet. And we’re thrilled to have the support of a great group of investors who share in our vision. To that end, we recently raised over $1.6MM in funding, with investment from SV Angel, Eniac Ventures, Acequia Capital, Scott Belsky, betaworks, CrunchFund, Homebrew, Aviary co-founder Avi Muchnick, Questlove (of The Roots and The Tonight Show), Vijay Vachani, and a select group of family, friends, and Anchor’s earliest community members via the Quire crowdfunding platform.

We’re also thrilled to be teaming up with WNYC and Radiolab for today’s launch of Anchor. As official launch partners, this is an opportunity for the most listened to public radio station and one of the most popular podcasts to have a new way to conduct direct communication through audio with their existing fan bases and new audiences alike.

Anchor was founded by former Aviary VP of product, Michael Mignano, and former Aviary head of server engineering, Nir Zicherman. After working closely together for 3 years and going through the Adobe acquisition of Aviary in late 2014, Mignano and Zicherman formed Anchor with the mission of re-inventing radio. If you’re interested in joining Anchor’s small, passionate team of creatives and audio enthusiasts, we’re currently hiring iOS engineers, full stack engineers, and designers. Check out our jobs page to learn more.

And to stay in the loop on all the best audio coming out of Anchor, follow us on Twitter @anchor. Thanks for reading, and we can’t wait to (literally!) hear you.

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Download Anchor for free on the App Store


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