Continuing our walk-throughs and reviews of streaming audio apps, today we turn to Flycast v2. This is another app that streams radio stations, but it does take the task a step further. Flycast offers a number of features that will keep an audio fan, particularly a talk radio fan, pretty happy.
After downloading Flycast you’ll have to set up a user account, if you don’t already have one. Your email address gets filled in automatically and after that it’s just your password and some demographic information. Enter that and you’ll be set up. (Also, the ZIP field defaults to numbers, which is something that every app should do, but few actually do.) Once you finish the form the setup is complete. The only thing you might want to check out before starting is the User Settings option. This allows you to select your preference of Wi-Fi or cellular network. You can also choose to restart the last station played when you restart the app. If you want you can automatically record a station, though that’s available only with an upgrade. Flycast will also allow you to play files from your music library. But we’ll go over these shortly. Also, in case you want the reference, here is a list of Flycast stations.
When you start Flycast you’ll go right to your My Stuff folder. This includes your music library if you so choose. In User Settings you can choose to enable this, plus a few other features that we’ll get to shortly. That makes it a bit easier to listen to whatever you want, whether recorded through Flycast or from your own collection. It’s not a top-notch feature, but it’s nice. Below that you have the spot for your recordings. This is available for premium users. If you go into User Settings you’ll see an option that allows you to automatically record all of the songs you listen to. Since you can always delete this songs, I do recommend keeping this feature on. As I can attest from my halcyon days of recording songs off the radio onto cassette, you don’t want to miss the opening bar for no good reason.
The second menu bar option, Guide, is where you’ll find the media selection in Flycast. Let’s run through this by menu item. Weather: It just opens a BlackBerry browser and shows you your local weather. I clicked this the first time I used it and never plan to click it again. On Now: Click on this and you’ll get a list of stations currently streaming. It doesn’t really tell you what station, but rather just the show name. Also, it appears to deal with only talk stations. I only saw Politics, Spiritual, Sports, and Talk as options. Cities: Looking for a station in a particular market? You can find it here. It’s a much more manageable list than the one on iheartradio, so you’ll be able to find the market you’re looking for. (But perhaps not the station. But more on that later.) Genres: Pretty self-explanatory. You can find stations that play varieties of music by exploring by genre. Audio Podcast: A big high five to Flycast for including podcasts, which has easily displaced talk radio as my favorite vocal medium. You can find podcasts from dozens of outlets, ready to listen right after you click. There are also plenty of back episodes, in case you’re particularly bored.
At first I wasn’t sure that a search function would work well in a streaming radio app. But then I tried it for Flycast. You can basically search for an artist, and it will return stations that play them. This works better for some artists than others, and with some I couldn’t get the stations to work. But the option is there, so I presume it will get better with updates. Or, at least, I hope. You can also search the SHOUTcast radio directory. That appears to bring up more results, but as with the results from the Flycast search I often got errors when clicking on the stations.
It shows you a history of stations you’ve frequented. No real explanation needed here.
Here’s one very intriguing feature of Flycast. For the first seven days after you download the app you can record up to five hours of music, for playback at any time. After that, though, you have to pay for recording space. You can keep that five hours of recording space, which you can use and recycle as you wish, for a one-time fee of $9.95. If you want more space, you can get 20 hours for $19.95. Again, these are not subscription fees. It’s akin to buying storage space. You have five hours of music, meaning you can record and delete items as you wish, so long as you’re under your allotted time. Clearly, you’ll need a microSD card for this.
Now that we’ve walked through the app, here is my take on its value to a BlackBerry user. There are many streaming audio applications out there. If you’re seeking entertainment when you have some downtime, there are many options. I would not consider Flycast among the best options. In fact, despite my somewhat harsh words for iheartradio, I think it’s a far superior application to Flycast. There’s just not enough here to top other apps, especially those such as TuneIn which include similar features. The app is painfully slow. It loads fine, I guess, but the lag time is unbearable. I’m having general lag problems with my BlackBerry, but they’re far worse in Flycast. It has rendered the app basically unusable. I hope that others do not experience the same issues. I’m also not overly impressed with the stations list. I loved it on TuneIn, and was OK with it on iheartradio. But I just can’t get into the limited selection on Flycast. I did enjoy the podcast selection, even though it’s missing a few of my favorites. With all the issues I ran into when testing the app, I cannot recommend it over our previous streaming audio app reviews. It appears to have plenty of potential, but the total package isn’t yet present.