Ordinarily, I write an iOS app update article that contains several apps I hope you’ll find interesting. This time I’d like to discuss one glorious app – Swell Radio. Swell Radio has its quirks, but it’s very usable. I’ll use the Feedback area to document the issues. It’s currently my App of the Month, though, and here’s why.
Swell Radio plays audio from various sources such as NPR, the BBC, ABC News and a potpourri of others, program after program. It’s an excellent app if you’re exercising, cooking or simply relaxing after a long productive day. It “learns” what programs you like by the minutes you spend listening to a show. Upon opening the app, I briefly heard something about it searching for content. As you know, I am an avid podcast listener and use the Voiceover-friendly iCatcher and Apple’s Podcast apps. In these apps, however, you must manually create a playlist if you want specific shows to play back to back. Swell Radio does the work for you. Granted you don’t know what’s coming next, but you can always use the Forward button to advance to the next track. It’s been great being introduced to new programs as well as hearing those I’ve loved for years in the mix.
The app starts with at least 3 pages of introductory material such as connecting to the usual social media suspects. The only way I found to escape these pages was by doing a three-finger swipe to the left. You’re then taken to the Main Menu, where you can choose from Home, topics, Settings and more. I suggest choosing a topic first. From there you’ll land on the Home screen where a show will begin playing. At the top of the screen there are well-labeled buttons for History, forward, Advanced controls, Track Details and Search. Double-tapping on the Advanced Controls button reveals the all-important playback speed, sleep timer and bookmark options. Make your choices and double-tap on the unlabeled button at the top right. Finally, double-tap on the Advanced Controls button again to close this drop-down list. If you listen to Swell Radio at night and neglect to engage the sleep timer, you might experience some very bizarre dreams. I sure have. Continuing to swipe to the right will reveal options for playback and sharing.
VoiceoverAlert1: While in the Bookmark section, having double-tapped on your desired program, the unlabeled play button is directly underneath the program name. Perform a two-finger tap and hold to open the “button labeling” area; type (or dictate) “Play” and double-tap on the “Save” button.
VoiceoverAlert2: You can search for a program but, frustratingly, Voiceover is unable to read the results.
Wishing you many swell hours of listening.