What good is a "radio" service if it can't keep you current on the day's news? Apple seems to be wondering the same thing. Beginning today, content from NPR will be available on its iTunes Radio streaming service. Recode reports that the new station will run 24 hours a day and offer live news interspersed with pre-recorded segments from NPR's lineup of shows including All Things Considered and Morning Edition. NPR says it expects to add "streams of our member stations from across the country" later this spring.
"The public radio audience is very digital savvy, but there are certainly some of the millennials and other folks who are looking for their listening experience exclusively on digital," Zach Brand, NPR's VP of digital media, told Recode. "So we want to reach them wherever they are." NPR's channel isn't yet appearing in an iTunes Radio search, but Recode says it should appear sometime today.
Since launching as part of iOS 7, iTunes Radio has largely been a music-only affair, featuring celebrity playlists, first listens for upcoming albums, and more. It seems Apple is looking to expand the scope of its Pandora competitor with the addition of NPR. Back in October, CEO Tim Cook said users had streamed more than 1 billion songs in just over a month, though the company hasn't provided an update on how well iTunes Radio is doing since then. More recently, Billboard reported that Apple is considering the launch of an on-demand subscription music service that would directly take on Spotify, Beats Music, Rdio, and others.