Apple’s streaming music service iTunes Radio is expanding its focus to include news programming today.
The company’s first news partner will be NPR, according to a Recode report. That move does make a lot of sense, considering that NPR is one of the most well regarded sources of news on the radio dial.
The iTunes Radio service was introduced as a music-only smart radio service that most closely competes with rival service Pandora, which is the current industry leader. iTunes Radio works by allowing you to generate smart radio stations based on a song or artist that’s already within your music library. You can also see upcoming songs and vote on whether you want to hear particular tracks within those smart stations.
There’s been some speculation that Apple may decide to pull its iTunes Radio service away from the core iTunes app and into its own standalone app to better compete with other services. If that’s true, the move to add NPR content would match up. Most rival services already offer some form of news content, including Pandora, TuneIn, Slacker Radio, and many others.
As for the NPR deal with Apple, NPR will offer a mix of live content and pre-recorded shows like Planet Money and All Things Considered. Local affiliate stations should also begin offering their own stations on iTunes Radio in the future, according to NPR.