After introducing a curated national NPR channel to iTunes Radio in March, Apple this week is launching support for the live streams of more than 40 local NPR stations around the United States. The company has also debuted a new ESPN sports radio channel, featuring a variety of programming from the ESPN radio empire.
The content itself is not new to iOS users — third party apps have long offered live streams of local NPR stations and ESPN radio — but the integration of the content into Apple’s iTunes Radio ecosystem is convenient.
The timing of the addition of ESPN Radio is particularly notable, as the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off this week in Brazil. ESPN will offer live coverage of World Cup matches via the app, in addition to Major League Baseball, NCAA Baseball, Basketball, and Football, and US Open Golf.
“We are thrilled to make our industry-leading sports talk and championship play-by-play content available to fans via iTunes Radio,” said Traug Keller, senior vice president, ESPN production business divisions in a blog post announcing the news. “And we are excited to partner with Apple to expand our digital reach. Our fans can look forward to expanded ESPN Audio offerings on both the national and local sports levels in the future.”
Users can find ESPN Radio as a featured channel in the iTunes Radio interface for iOS, iTunes, and Apple TV. Local NPR stations can be found by searching for “NPR” or a particular station’s call sign, such as WWNO in New Orleans.
iTunes Radio launched as part of iOS 7 in September 2013 and is available in the United States and Australia for free with ads. iTunes Match subscribers ($25 per year) can access the service ad-free.