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NPR Revamps Web Site, Steps Up App Push

Also stops charging for transcripts

NPR, hoping to get under the noses of more online and mobile consumers, relaunched its Web site and is ramping up its presence in mobile apps.

The public radio giant says these developments coincide with “near-record on-air, online, mobile and social media audience growth over the past year.” NPR claims 27.5 million listeners weekly; podcast downloads up 34% from a year ago; and 9 million unique visitors to its site monthly. The NPR Politics Twitter account reached 1 million followers in June.

The changes to its Web site, NPR hopes, will make it easier for users to combine listening and reading, follow news and share content. The site is organized to emphasize news, arts & life and music, “reflecting both NPR’s reporting strengths and the interests of the audience.” A Google search tool lets users find a program or topic faster.

“The site allows for enhanced visual storytelling, offering more photos, images and graphics, and better integration of text and audio content,” NPR promises. “Audio options are presented more prominently throughout the site and allow fans to organize the various ways to listen to NPR — through their favorite NPR station, live stream or via podcast.” Visitors can localize their homepage to receive local and national news, streams and podcasts.

In making the announcement, NPR also said it will no longer charge fees for transcripts; you can get them back to spring 2005 now without charge.

NPR also said consumers should expect mobile applications soon.

Apps being developed will use NPR’s open application programming interface that came out a year ago. That API gives users, developers and stations access to its content so they can integrate and share it. Member station WBUR relaunched its site this week using the API.

An NPR News App that’s under development for the iTunes App Store will let iPhone and iPod touch users read and listen to NPR’s news coverage; “curate” audio playlists; tune in and bookmark a station for live and on-demand streams; and listen to recent stories.