iTunes Radio adds NPR news, its first departure from music

iTR npr 300wiTunes Radio took its first step away from music today, by adding a customized NPR news station to its presets. Not a specific local station, the new offering is simply called “NPR,” and contains no discrete tracks, voting up/down, or other interactive features that exist with songs.

The first-day experience is opaque. There is no choice of NPR programming available, and the station does not even tell you what you’re listening. There is no intro trailer. Listeners join in mid-stream. AccMorning Edition, All Things Considered, and hourly NPR newscasts. According to the NPR blog, the station will present streams of Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and hourly newscasts.

“What you hear today is just the start of what’s to come,” according to Zach Brand, VP of digital media at NPR.

National Public Radio is a powerhouse digital distributor of its vast programming portfolio, with a multi-faceted anchor ( and aggressive podcast placement on TuneIn and iTunes Store. The iTunes Radio stream is rather blunt compared to the network’s normally laser-sharp streaming strategies, but will presumably get more defined over time, and could certainly introduce its content to new audiences.

Brad Hill