8 Apps for the NPR Enthusiast

NPR AppsIn this post-Walkman era, we don’t always have a radio on our person, causing quite the insurmountable inconvenience for NPR devotees like myself. Lucky for us, there are a number of mobile apps on the market from NPR, syndicates and individual shows. Here’s a collection of a few of my favorite means of soaking up public radio on the go.

NPR News

Free for iPhone & Android
AppStore rating: 3.5/5 stars
Google Play rating: 4/5 stars

NPR News lets you read, listen or create a playlist of NPR stories on your phone. The app provides live streaming to listen to programs, but the choices are rather limited when it comes to older stories. Most stories are text-only, and lacking in audio – an important feature for the whole NPR experience. And in case you’re away from your home station, you can use this app to find the local NPR station rather than relying on the seek button.

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NPR Music

Free for iOS
AppStore rating: 4.5/5 stars

Designed for both iPhone and iPad, NPR music is an app for exploring new music. Read music news and reviews, listen to interviews and live concerts or stream albums before they’re released. The app also features over one hundred music stations and the ability to create custom playlists for offline listening. The iPad app is widely praised for its attractive and intuitive user interface – it really is a beautifully made app.

NPR Apps

NPR Addict

NPR Apps

Free for iOS
AppStore Rating: 3/5 stars

NPR Addict as a fan-built app powered by the NPR API. This app seems to make up where NPR News is lacking. Instead of streaming live content, NPR Addict lets you browse and listen to programs that have already aired. The app doesn’t have the sleekest of interfaces, but the amount of content available makes it a worthy contender. Many users complain that phone calls and other apps interrupt streaming – so while you may find that program you missed, don’t plan on multitasking while listening.

This American Life

$2.99 for iOS & Android
AppStore Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Google Play Rating: 3.1/5 stars

Most weeks, This American Life is the most popular podcast in the country. If you’re hesitant about the cost, it just might be worth it – the app grants on-demand access to all episodes going back to the show’s launch in 1995. Search by episode name or contributor’s name and share your favorite episodes via email, Facebook and Twitter, or keep your own list of favorite episodes. And for the live radio purist, check out countdown and reminder features that correspond to each weekly live broadcast.

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$2.99 for iOS & Android
AppStore Rating: 4/5 stars
Google Play Rating: 4/5 stars

Radiolab’s app has to be the most visually appealing of the bunch. Functionalities include podcasts of every show ever recorded, blog posts and updates from the show, and push notifications for new episodes. You can even make and upload your own audio effects, text and photos based on special resquests from hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich.

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NPR Planet Money

Free for iOS
AppStore Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The mission of Planet Money is to keep listeners (and now app users) in the know about everything that’s going on with the economy, but in a surprisingly entertaining fashion. The accompanying app allows users to listen to full episodes of the show, save stories for offline listening and share tidbits via email, Twitter and Facebook.

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Sci Fri

Free for iOS & Android
AppStore Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Google Play Rating: 3.4/5 stars

For the latest in science, technology, health and nature, check out the Science Friday app, which features audio, video and text versions of the show’s content. The app also features sharing functions and, if you’re feeling generous, the ability to donate directly to the show.

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Car Talk

Free for iOS
Appstore rating: 4/5

Soak up what’s left of the soon-to-retire Click and Clack with the Car Talk app. The show’s iOS app features access to this week’s show, plus a few eccentricities from the beloved Tappet brothers: laugh tracks of those infamous chuckles, plus their top ten car noise renditions. You can also connect directly with the show with options to email Car Talk, post a car question, or my personal favorite, “Complain to the FCC about Car Talk.”

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