iTunes Radio is no longer a streaming service strictly for music. National Public Radio (NPR) today announced that it’s jumping on board as the app’s first news provider, delivering a non-stop steady stream of headlines and in-depth reporting.
Starting today, the new station will offer national newscasts and select stories from across its culture and news-based programming, such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. The broadcaster is also planning exclusive NPR member streams and seamless integration with listeners’ local stations.
News is an unexpected twist for iTunes Radio. The service, restricted to the Music app in iOS 7, offers free, ad-supported Internet radio similar to Pandora and Last.fm. At least 100 stations are already available, and while iTunes Match subscribers can listen ad-free, it’s not an on-demand streaming service such as Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music and Deezer.
The service is only available in the US and Australia for now, although Apple is rumored to be launching it in the UK, Canada and New Zealand this year. Given NPR’s roots are in the US, it’s likely this new iTunes Radio content is out-of-bounds for Australian listeners at the moment.
Earlier this month, 9to5Mac reported that Apple is considering a standalone app for iTunes Radio in iOS 8. Once the service is available globally, it would make for sense for promotion and marketing purposes.
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