The Cord Cutter and the Radio: Why can’t I listen to live NFL streaming?

The other day I was making a short walk from my house to a local brew pub where I planned to catch most of the Chargers-Denver game. Not wanting to miss anything I figured I could catch a live stream using an iPhone app called Stitcher that offers live radio stations.

Modern reproduction of a vintage radio

Modern reproduction of a vintage radio

Now if you are in your car you can pick up the game via 105.3 FM or 1360 AM  so you might guess it would be easy to get it on-line as well. Not so much. In a situation much analogous to OTA vs streaming television, the NFL treats the radio waves as give-aways but internet streams as something special. You can stream the game from your laptop but not on your iPhone. Here is the warning from 1360 (misspelling is theirs):

Broadcast not availabe on mobile device
and is only available in SD County. Click here for info.

So what’s the solution? Well I guess I could have driven instead of walked. Or I could rely on old technology – something I remember was called a portable AM/FM radio.

Wow that’s weird. All the fancy smart phones and apps out there are cut-off from the NFL? At least any free ones that I could find.

You have to wonder how long this can last. The internet is already displacing  AM/FM radios – consider Pandora, Spotify, and the aforementioned Stitcher. Most news, sports, and talk radio programming  is already available free online independent of your location.  Yet the NFL is holding out and even sells some audio only packages. Not for me. I’ll dig around in my junk drawer and see if I can salvage my old Walkman.


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13 Responses to The Cord Cutter and the Radio: Why can’t I listen to live NFL streaming?

  1. Bob says:

    The Jets radio casts are only available on ESPN NY which is an FM station, I can only get it in my car, and even there it’s in and out. Giants games on the other hand are on WFAN AM and FM, AM is 50,000 watts and heard in probably 20 states. Very strange.

  2. Greg says:

    Hi Bob,
    Must be different deals for different teams. Who do you follow?

    • Bob says:

      I’m not much of an NFL fan, I just find it strange that the Jets aren’t on one AM station in the NY Metropolitan area, and the Giants are on the biggest AM station in the area. The teams are rivals in broadcasting also, ESPN radio seems to want to limit it’s free audience.

  3. travis says:

    It all depends on how much the station wants to pay for broadcast rights. If the station pays additional to offer the stream to their viewers, they can. Also, SiriusXM’s app streams all the game audio from both team’s broadcast, so you can choose your announcers. Of course, that is for paying customers only.

  4. Greg says:

    Thanks Travis. I’m thinking about an “app” that would be a small hardware add-on to add AM radio through the iPhone.

  5. george says:

    It’s weird, sometimes I have luck and sometimes I don’t. I live in the DC area and I follow the Cowboys. If I can’t get the game from a DC station (streamed from the radio station’s site or IheartRadio) I can sometimes get it from the other team’s radio station or app.

    • Greg says:

      I just downloaded that iHeart app but haven’t tested it yet. I’m guessing they will be blocking NFL audio as a rule since the websites that advertise it do.

  6. Len Mullen says:

    Have you considered streaming the games from your home for private/personal mobile consumption?

    • Greg says:

      That’s a cool idea. Maybe take my household FM radio and stream it on a private website page? I assume that would be legal since it is not a broadcast. Have you tried that yourself?

  7. Len Mullen says:

    I have a DVR on my network. I can log onto that remotely using chrome and watch tv on a windows pc. It’s very good. There is an apple app for that: I only paid $99.99 for the tuner with lifetime premier service on a recent woot. Of course, you need to have QAM or OTA feed of the program you want to feed,but…

    There is also Aereo. Maybe Splashtop or some other kind of remote access app?

    • Greg says:

      I’m thinking there are a multiple ways to do it. I don’t want video, too much data. Just audio at 34kbps or so. One way would be to physically connect a radio and stream it myself. Probably easier would be to control the remote desktop and go to one of the radio websites, assuming they are allowing audio on the PC.

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