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Daily iPhone App: IHeartRadio

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Clear Channel is a huge force in radio. When the Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened up radio ownership, Clear Channel Communications scooped up several stations in most big markets, consolidating power.

The company also has a spinoff called Live Nation, which is among the biggest event and ticket promoters in the world (currently in a merger with Ticketmaster). In other words, Clear Channel runs the show when it comes to radio and music events.

And that's essentially why the iHeartRadio app is so important -- it's Clear Channel's official hook into iOS. Most of the company's stations offer live streams within the app, along with song information and other updates. A recent update lets users create custom "stations," similar to Pandora. Unfortunately, those features require a login through Facebook. The service itself isn't bad, but given just how many honeypots Clear Channel has its hands in, some users aren't exactly comfortable with passing over more private information.

That said, if the station you're looking for is available in the app, this is essentially the only way to get it streaming on the iPhone, so this one is pretty much your choice. And there is something to be said for Clear Channel's clout: the company is hosting a huge music festival in Las Vegas later on this month, all centered around this iHeartRadio brand. With the company's access, the custom stations on this app have access to plenty of different music choices and songs you might not hear elsewhere.

It's just too bad the iHeartRadio app is part of the big Clear Channel empire -- something that's crushed a lot of local radio markets (and hearts) in the past. The iHeartRadio app is now available for free in the App Store.

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