September 19, 2016
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Built with Ionic: Wavve

Katie Ginder-Vogel

Built with Ionic: Wavve app

Wavve is an engagement platform built with Ionic that allows listeners of audio content to post short voice clips back to shows and talk with other listeners as a community.

“Wavve is a powerful, easy-to-use platform helping broadcasters to engage listeners, improve content marketing, reach wider audiences, and sell more sponsorships,” says Wavve cofounder and CTO Nick Fogle, who was a lawyer until his passion for tech drove him to switch from legal code to computer code. “Imagine a cross between Twitter and a verbal message board packed with marketing tools, which is perfect for radio shows and podcasts.”

The Wavve team launched their iOS and Android mobile apps this year.

“Our early partners in the radio industry are giving us great feedback,” says Fogle. “They haven’t seen much innovation in recent years, and their listeners love the community interaction.”

How Wavve works

To use Wavve, content creators set up a channel. Audience members can subscribe to the channel and post short audio clips to talk with one another. When a user creates a new audio post, called a “drop”, it creates a thread on which other listeners can comment, via audio or text. Audio posted to Wavve can easily be shared to social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

“Wavve is used by iHeartRadio, ESPN Radio, and Fox Sports Radio affiliates, as well as podcasters, YouTube influencers, and other online communities,” says Fogle. “Wavve helps content creators engage audiences, increase social marketing, and promote digital audio content. Wavve not only creates a unique way for broadcasters to engage audiences, but it also creates new digital and on-air ad opportunities for sponsorship sales.”

Here’s an example of a Wavve Drop shared to Twitter by Howie Lindsey, host of the Louisville First show on 790KRD radio:

The Wavve team started building their app in July 2015 and used many of Ionic’s layout elements, as well as some custom UI elements, like their swipe-to-upload component.

“Wavve uses a number of Cordova plugins to leverage native functionality,” says Fogle. “We’ve customized several existing plugins to fit the unique needs of our users. For instance, we started using the standard Cordova media plugin to capture audio and quickly realized that raw WAV files were far too large and would hurt upload and download speeds, not too mention users’ data plans. To overcome this, we customized our media plugin’s record function to compress audio files to one-tenth the size, while still maintaining a high level of fidelity.”

To handle simultaneous Android and iOS releases, the team developed a custom shell script for handling differences prior to deployments, which automates everything, in order to prevent manual native updates.

“Because our product is focused on community engagement, it was difficult to find one group in our target market that predominantly was on a single platform,” says Fogle. “If the community leaders were on Android, their fans would have iOS, or vice-versa). We needed both iOS and Android apps to successfully test for user adoption and usability.”

As a bootstrapped startup, Wavve didn’t have the time or resources to fund separate native iOS and Android apps, so they initially started with Ionic as a proof of concept, to see if their idea could gain any traction.

“As more users joined, we grew to love the ease of releasing to two platforms simultaneously,” says Fogle. “We just recently released a web version, so users can consume/post audio content from their desktop browser.”

Wavve’s web app is built as a fairly standard Angular 1.0 web app, with one key twist: it uses service workers to manage recording and audio compression right in the browser.

Wavve is beginning the search for an investment partner and for developers to assist with the transition to Ionic 2 and other development needs, and they’re hoping more blog, podcast, YouTube and Twitch stream hosts, not to mention local radio stations, will start using Wavve. They’re also planning to build a progressive web app after they make the switch. We think they’re off to a promising start!

Katie Ginder-Vogel