Starting today, all of NPR shows and newscast will be on iTunes as streaming radio. The 24 hour streaming station will be showcasing all of your NPR favorites like Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Zach Brand, NPR’s vice president of digital media, said, ” What you hear today is just the start of what’s to come.”
The collaboration is an extension of NPR’s larger goal of creating an experience like Pandora for public radio – another media channel that’s similar to its Infinite Player, a web app that plays continuously until you hit stop. It’s essentially like a radio for your computer, except you can “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” each segment in order to fine tune your preferences.
Michael Yoch describes the project as a way to offer the public distracted listening:
If finding and listening to audio is first and foremost in your mind, we offer tons of podcasts and program audio clips. You can queue these stories up on a playlist to run consecutively, or just hunt around individually to find the ones you want. You can even sync your playlist across browsers. All this requires a lot of the user’s attention.
That model works very well for some people in some cases; but it’s a far cry from the roots of radio in which the listener simply hits a button and listens.
For NPR, the move to iTunes creates more digital ubiquity, a goal of the public radio organization that will likely bring NPR streaming to more digital devices and apps, potentially even to Spotify or even as this standalone beta app from NPR, as hinted by Yoch:
What kind of devices does this make sense on? This could make sense in a car, conceivably, at some point down the line. It might make sense on your iPhone. It might be on a tablet.