Best Apps for News and Talk Radio
This just in: NPR News leads with, you guessed it, the news. The app’s News screen lists the latest news for your reading and listening pleasure. Some are text-only wire stories, and others, indicated by the audio icon, have audio along with the full transcript. Tap the “By Topic” tab to view the latest stories by subject area (science, politics, business, and so on). The Newscast tab lets you listen to the latest top-of-the hour news roundup.
Read the radio: Tap a story to read its text or, when available, listen to its audio. You can listen to a radio segment immediately by tapping “Listen Now,” or tap “Add to Playlist” to add the story to your own custom station, which lets you build your own personal news broadcast. The Share button lets you sling the story out to your pals via email, Twitter, or Facebook. The app saves news stories for offline reading, but you can listen to audio only when you’re online.
Favorite shows: Got a fancy for Fresh Air? Your engine revs for Car Talk? The app’s Programs screen lets you browse your favorite shows and listen to their latest segments or podcasts. If the show is currently airing on any NPR station, the app also lets you tune in live. You can listen to individual segments or, if you want to hear them all at once, tap the Add To Playlist button, and the app pours them all into your custom playlist.
Topical: In addition to browsing specific shows, the Programs screen also offers an option to browse all segments by topic—here, Arts & Life. Unlike the By Topic feature of the News screen, the radio segments shown here are culled from all NPR programs, not just the news shows. The feature is a useful way to turn up new-to-you programs that cover topics you dig.
Tune in: The Stations screen lets you tune into the live broadcast of just about any NPR affiliate station. In addition to the station’s live stream, you can also tune into any local programs that the station produces (providing they post those shows online). When you start streaming a station, the app lets you mark the station as a favorite for quick access from the main Stations screen.
Website: National Public Radio
If, all things considered, you prefer the fresh air of morning edition, this app is for you. Read or listen to the latest news from National Public Radio, or assemble your own custom playlist of segments and podcasts from the vast archive of NPR news, culture, and entertainment programs. Mix in the ability to listen live to any local NPR station, and you’ve got the ideal mix of live and (pledge-drive free) on-demand programming.
Topic tuner: The OnDemand screen lets you browse shows by category, like the Comedy channel shown here, or by source (BBC, ESPN, Fox News, CNN, and on and on). Tap a program to start listening, or tap the star icon to mark the show a favorite. The Favorites screen lets you listen to the latest segments from your favorite shows, “stitching” them together into your own custom radio station.
Thumbs up: When you're listening to a playlist, whether it's your custom favorites list or one of Stitcher's prefab playlists, you can give the show a thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate whether you want to hear more broadcasts from this show in the future. The bookmark icon at top left lets you save the show for later, for fast access from the app's More screen.
If you’re not an NPR fan or you’re looking for a broader range of sources, Stitcher lets you construct a custom talk radio station from podcasts based on your favorite topics, preferred sources, and listening history. The end result resembles a talk-radio version of Pandora. Listen to prefab streams by topic (comedy, sports, news, science, and so on) or construct your own by choosing favorite shows. The app also provides live streams to a selection of US talk-radio stations.
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