It includes a list of the main NPR news shows — All Things Considered, Morning Edition — along with a selection of others you might think of right away — Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation, Weekend Edition — and a few you might not recognize. The app will tell you if the program is being aired somewhere and allow you to stream it from an NPR affiliate of your choice, add it to your in-app playlist, or get it as a podcast from the iTunes Music Store.
Those options are all great, but my favorite part is the way many of the programs — particularly the two major news shows — are broken into their individual stories, each of which can be added to an in-app playlist. So before a morning walk I can open the app, go to the Morning Edition section, pick the stories I’m interested in (with an eye to filling up the 30 minutes I’ll be walking as closely as possible) then start playing my queue.
The “pick a segment” capability works with a few other programs. For instance, I can get just the book, music and movie reviews from Fresh Air without dealing with any interviews I’m not interested in.
The one thing I noticed about my sudden ability to control the items I was listening to was that I had to think twice about a few things. Wednesday morning, for instance? I really just didn’t want to hear anything at all about the Wisconsin recall vote and I caught myself skipping that item. I finally decided that I needed to go back and make myself listen, because all I really knew about the story was what I’d picked up from Google News headlines just before going to bed the night before. So I made myself listen. I didn’t like what I heard: The cheers from the winning side were aggravating, and the moans from the losing side were pretty hard to hear. But I made myself listen, because not listening would have felt like I was allowing it all to matter a little less.