You know how when you were a kid and you used to wait until your favorite song came on the radio and you would also wait for the on-air personality to stop talking so you could record the song at the right moment. I don’t know about you but many of the mixtapes I created as young teen were done in this fashion. I enjoyed it because you would later share the tape with your friends or the girl you were crushing on at the time. I can actually remember waiting to listen WGCI’s Coke Top 8 at 8 so I could call the young lady I was crushing on and we would actually talk about the songs or attempt to sing them over the phone to each other. That was the way we shared radio as kids.
Ayinde O. Alakoye has taken that very concept and delivered to the world Hitch Radio. Unbeknownst to many, he is also the man who delivered what is now known as iHeartRadio to the world. In an extraordinary piece written by Ayesha K. Faines for Atlanta Blackstar, Alakoye reveals his childhood connection with radio. “When we were kids, we would call each other up when one of our favorite songs came on, like ‘Roxanne’ or whatever,” he remembers. “We’d call each other up a say ‘Hey, turn on the radio!’ And you’d hear the song playing in the background. Somehow, when you listened to radio together, the same song, it made it more special.” Ayinde special childhood memories about radio sparked the vision for the future of radio as we know it. After a brief career in Beach Volleyball and mainstream radio sales, the Washington D.C. native left the corporate world to pursue his own dreams by creating Thumb Radio, which sought out to make local radio stations in the country accessible via a moblie platform. , In 2007 he walked into the offices of Clear Channel with this technology and as the story goes, the world now has iHeartRadio.
Obviously that wasn’t enough for Ayinde Alakoye because he has now launched his new platform, Hitch Radio based on the concept of his childhood memories. Hitch Radio is the world’s first instant messaging app for Radio. 20,000 Radio stations are searchable in real-time using song title, artist names and content keywords. With Hitch Radio users can connect with news and sports; with their favorite artists and bands; AND can also connect with their friends and make new ones all around the world.
“Where tech meets Radio has always been my passion,” says Alakoye. How does Hitch work? Type in a song or subject and the app searches the world to find where it’s playing right now, so the user can Hitch-a-Ride on that live Radio station. Then send a message to a friend to invite them to Hitch-a-Ride on your Radio stream. When they Hitch, the Driver and can take them to whatever stream to listen to next!
Hitch Radio turns radio from a passive to an active platform. People will be Hitching, Driving, Instant Messaging and Connecting…not just listening. It creates a new dynamic: people creating ad-hoc communities, but also creating a new platform for stations to engage listeners.
“Some people are saying it’s like ‘Snapchat for Radio’,” adds Alakoye. “Instant messaging music or news with your closest friends is an interactive and intimate way to be in the moment together. Having them control your Radio dial turns it up a notch.” It’s like this. Hitch-a-Ride to your friend Molly’s live stream, but if her picks suck, try Hitching-a-Ride with Miley Cyrus. Celebrities can be personal Drivers.
You must admit that this concept is brilliant and innovative and to think as Biggie once said, “It was a dream…”