WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Philippine Embassy has launched Radyo Tambuli, a virtual radio station that hopes to reach out to the more than 3.4 million members of the Filipino-American community throughout the US.
Radyo Tambuli allows the embassy to deliver news, music, and other information to mobile phones using an innovative call-to-listen platform developed by AudioNow, a Washington-based company.
"We hope that with Radyo Tambuli, we would be able to bridge the distance between the Philippines and our kababayans here in the United States who are hungry for news about home," Minister and Consul General Ariel Penaranda said at the launch of Radyo Tambuli on Tuesday.
Penaranda said Radyo Tambuli was conceived and developed by the embassy in cooperation with AudioNow, which owns and operates the world’s largest call-to-listen platform.
"Radyo Tambuli is also in line with the desire of Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. to further reach out to Filipino-Americans and reconnect them with the Philippines," he said.
According to Penaranda, Radyo Tambuli can be accessed by calling 415-638-5777 from any mobile phone or landline, allowing callers to hear the latest news about the Philippines, original Pilipino music or OPM and discussions on pressing issues and even participate in opinion surveys.
"Radyo Tambuli is part of AudioNow's social mission to help connect the diaspora to news, information and entertainment from sources they trust," says AudioNow Chief Executive Officer Elan Blutinger.
Blutinger said no smartphone or data plan is needed to call Radyo Tambuli and there is no incremental charge for the call, beyond any charge for using voice minutes. He said listeners may call from any phone, including a basic feature phone and a landline.
Although most mobile phone subscribers in the US have unlimited airtime, Blutinger advised listeners to check their voice plans to understand if and when they have unlimited minutes and when charges may apply.
Blutinger said with Radyo Tambuli, the Philippine Embassy joins AudioNow’s more than 1,600 broadcast partners around the world that include the United Nations, BBC, RFI, Voice of America, Entravision, C-SPAN and IMG College.
Taking the lead
Blutinger has lauded the Philippine Embassy for "taking the lead as the very first embassy to use call-to-listen radio."
"As such, Radyo Tambuli introduces a brand new way to conduct public diplomacy in an age where more and more people heavily rely on their mobile phones to stay connected," he said.
According to Blutinger, the Embassy has been a great catalyst in organizing the local community, connecting Filipinos and providing resources.
"We are proud to help the Embassy extend its reach and its impact in the United States," he said.
Established in 2008, AudioNow extends the reach of radio by connecting mobile listeners to their favorite radio stations through a simple telephone call. The AudioNow platform uses proprietary “HD” voice design and patent-pending technology that serves all mobile platforms.
Last year alone, Blutinger said AudioNow delivered 2 billion listening minutes to its broadcast partners, in 76 different languages and connected users 84 million times to its platform.