You’re about to have much more to listen to on iTunes Radio than just music. Today, Apple’s digital audio streaming service added National Public Radio to its list of available stations, making it the service’s first news channel. More non-music channels are on the way, according to Re/code.
The free NPR stream on iTunes radio will run 24 hours a day, mixing live news with pre-recorded shows like All Things Considered and The Diane Rehm Show. Within weeks some local NPR stations might also begin offering their own iTunes Radio channels.
NPR has been available for free online for some time, but offering a channel on iTunes Radio could increase the reach of the syndicator’s content. “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, so we want to reach them wherever they are,” said Zach Brand, NPR’s vice president of digital media.
In the past, NPR talked about launching a personalization feature in its mobile app that would base its programming on the listening preferences and locations of individual users. Peter Kafka at Re/code suggests NPR’s iTunes Radio channel might offer a similar personalization service.
Launched in September of last year, iTunes Radio competes with established music suggestion sites like Pandora and emerging services like Beats Music and Spotify. Though iTunes Radio seems to have surpassed Spotify in its share of the U.S. market, it continues to trail iHeartRadio and has gained little traction against Pandora. Adding popular news channels like NPR to its mix, however, gives iTunes Radio an edge over these online audio streaming services.
The addition of news also allows iTunes Radio to compete with traditional AM/FM radio stations. And here, thanks to its integration with mobile devices, iTunes has an obvious edge.
If NPR and other upcoming news channels draw more listeners into iTunes Radio, I’d say the service stands at least some chance at beating out the digital audio streaming competition.
Will you listen to NPR on iTunes Radio?