When it comes to offering excellent diverse digital audio programming, NPR has been doing it really well for a long time. Years ago they started offering many of their weekly or daily news/talk programs as podcasts which dominated the podcast charts at ITunes. As iPhones made connected access more mobile, they began to offer the programming on demand as well. I’ve been listening to Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me during my morning runs for years, first as a podcast and then as a stream on my iPhone.
But one of the things that NPR has done brilliantly is use their digital platform to extend their offerings beyond their typical broadcast offering. NPR Music is a wealth of excellent music, from Song of the Day to First Listen where they preview new albums, to All Songs Considered, they have created an online music platform that is diverse, deep and interesting.
Now, NPR has created the Infinite Player to allow listeners to listen to segments of NPR’s news and talk programming in a personalizable player that will learn what a person likes and doesn’t and tailor offerings accordingly. Similar to the mechanics of Pandora‘s personalizable player, NPR’s Infinite Player offers thumbs up and down buttons, as well as options to skip and pause.
NPR hopes the Infinite Player will “deliver the type of serendipitous experience you expect from NPR, with recommendations based on your input, NPR editors’ judgment and story popularity.” It’s currently in beta, and only available in Chrome and Safari. It’s designed, according to the blog post that introduced it, to enable more distracted listening – the kind of listening that folks do while they are doing other things as well. The kind of listening that is increasing as we listen more and more to Internet radio away from our desktops..