April 20, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
One of my favorite things about NPR is Story Corps, an oral history program that allows people to tell personal stories that they can share with the world. Broadcastr is similar because it shares audio tales tied to a particular location, acting like a geo-based storyteller.
Broadcastr is available online at a beta website, but its Android app released today is an interesting way to learn about the stories of people who have been in the same places that you visit. Broadcastr checks the user’s GPS data and then returns stories shared related to that area. So I can look at a map of Cocoa Beach, FL and click on stories about the nearby Kennedy Space Center or even listen to a military brat’s tales of discovering that her dog’s previous owner trained it to be racist (this is a funny story shared on the site, not a crazy example I thought up on my own). Users can then zoom out of the map and explore other locations, and then tap on blue dots that reveal an interesting story worth being played.
The Geoplay feature of Broadcastr then becomes a walking tour guide as you explore cities. As someone cuts through the park on their lunch break, Geoplay will realize that several stories have been shared near that bench and will begin to play them automatically. Taking the kids to Disney World? Let Junior and Jane go crazy on Space Mountain as you sit in the shade and hear about the funny, touching, or bizarre tales of other guests of Mickey’s house. (Geoplay can be turned on/off at any time.)
Broadcastr also allows users to share their own stories by recording directly from their Android phone. It’s an interesting way to connect with others, as are the options to see featured storytellers, listening history, and follow your favorite Broadcastr members. Download the Android 2.1 or higher app from the Android Market.