Auto Tech

Want radio with Apple CarPlay? Gracenote has an app for that

Apple CarPlay's lack of support for radio spurred digital media indexer Gracenote to find a solution, on display at CES 2018.

Gracenote's demonstration app shows how it can integrate radio with Apple CarPlay.

Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

Apple CarPlay shows navigation, podcasts and apps on your car's dashboard LCD, but one thing it doesn't do is radio. Gracenote, the company that creates tagging information for digital music, showed a solution to CarPlay's radio problem at CES.

Using a demonstration app, Gracenote showed how it gives drivers a rich radio interface integrated with CarPlay. 

Beyond simply playing local radio, the app lets drivers choose from a list of favorited stations and browse stations based on location or genre. Even better, it seamlessly combines streaming and broadcast stations, so drivers can get their local favorites while traveling.

With its Internet-centric approach and limited number of apps, Apple CarPlay doesn't integrate with AM/FM radios in cars. Yet the audience for radio in cars remains significant. Drivers using Apple CarPlay for navigation and communications need to switch between the CarPlay interface and their car's native interface to tune the radio.

Along with indexing and tagging digital music, Gracenote has also indexed radio stations across the country, tagging them with genre and location information. Using that database, its app interface gives drivers a range of tools to browse stations, or just find their favorites. 

However, you won't find Gracenote's app in the iTunes store. Rather than going direct to consumers, the company only provides its technology to partners. As such, it will probably take an automaker to implement the solution into an app, and make it compatible with Apple CarPlay.