NPR 24-hour iTunes Radio station debuts in US, becoming first news station on Apple's service

Apple launched iTunes Radio last autumn with music streaming in mind, and now its audio services has finally expanded beyond music by adding a news station. But it is not just any 'ole news station. It's National Public Radio.

NPR - also called National Public Radio - is a private and publicly funded non-profit media organisation in the US known for producing and distributing news and cultural programming to more than 900 nationally syndicated radio stations. It has more than 30 million listeners each month, and now the broadcaster's 24-hour streaming iTunes Radio station plans to offer those listeners the same type of content they're familiar with but anywhere they can play iTunes.

That means you'll have access to digital streams of Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, as well as hourly newscasts. Zach Brand, vice president of digital media at NPR, also confirmed the NPR iTunes Radio station would add more functionality this spring. Specifically, it will include local stations and a mix of live and tapes news. In fact, the launch of an iTunes Radio station is part of a larger move to create an expanded digital listening experience.

"What you hear today is just the start of what's to come," explained Brand in a press release.

READ: iTunes Radio takes on Spotify and Pandora

Previously, NPR had talked about releasing a mobile app for accessing on-demand programming based on listening preferences and location. Website Recode said it’s possible that such an app could become folded into NPR's iTunes Radio station plans.

In the meantime however, NPR, which is already free and available via web browsers and mobile apps, is now accessible in one more place starting today - thanks to Apple's iTunes Radio.