Public Radio + iPhone = Public Radio Tuner

Here at PRX, we like to keep an eye on technology developments. Well, the success of the iPhone nearly blinded us with its obviousness… public radio needed to be there! We wanted it there in the broadest way possible, so we assembled a group of public radio leaders and got a grant from CPB. In an improbably short time, we are proud to unveil the first fruits of that collaboration: the Public Radio Tuner. Learn more and leave feedback at the project blog. Here’s what we’re saying about it:

Public Radio + iPhone = Public Radio Tuner

A collaboration of APM, NPR, PI, PRI, and PRX

The Tuner in context

Public radio on the iPhone? Of course! We’re pleased to announce the launch of a new version of the Public Radio Tuner, an iPhone app with a sleek new look and state-of-the-art engineering. Version 1.1 made it into the iTunes Store earlier this week, and is continuing the Tuner’s record of success. Since the app’s initial launch, tens of thousands of people have downloaded it and over 200 stations have added their streams. Best of all, we’re getting overwhelmingly positive feedback, once again demonstrating how much people enjoy and rely on public radio and are eager for us to reach them in new ways.

A new collaboration for a new media platform

The January update came out of a unique collaboration between American Public Media (APM), National Public Radio (NPR), Public Interactive (PI), Public Radio Exchange (PRX), and Public Radio International (PRI). The project is conceived and led by PRX and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. APM, which created the original Tuner, provided the code to the colloboration’s technology team so new features could be added quickly and the existing user base could be maintained. This latest update is the first of several updates funded by the CPB grant. More releases will take place throughout the spring of 2009.

CPB and the collaborators see this project as a way to encourage communication and knowledge sharing in order to harness the collective expertise, talents, and resources of the public radio system. We believe the Public Radio Tuner is an important way to keep pace with our technologically evolving listener base and bring public radio to a whole new set of people. Simply put, our listeners want us wherever they go. A recent study tells us that they have the mobile tools to find us — we just have to be there when they look.

Not just any application, a *public radio* application

The Public Radio Tuner essentially allows anyone with an iPhone or iPod Touch to listen to streams from stations across the country. It has the features iPhone users expect from any “tuner” application — search, a favorites list, and fast loading times. What sets this Tuner apart is how the collaborators’ experience and their direct relationships with stations can create a listening experience custom-made for public radio’s high-quality, diverse content. What does this mean for the listener?

* The ability to search by call letters, frequency, city, region, or format
* The ability to click once to see all stations near the current location
* An ever-expanding menu of content with more streams added all the time

Future plans will make the Tuner even more of an on-demand listening tool, with features such as a “What’s On Now” list of programs, searchable program audio, and more.

Not already part of the Public Radio Tuner? Sign up!

People already using the app are asking for their local stations’ streams. (If you have iTunes, check out the reviews here.) It’s not too late to submit your stream for inclusion in the Tuner. We’re continually adding stations.

See if your station is in the Public Radio Tuner app»

Submit your station’s stream»

Station support services (where you submit and maintain your stream information) are in the process of moving from American Public Media over to Public Interactive. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, visit the Public Radio Tuner page on if you have stream-related questions (you can create a login if you don’t have one already). Please visit the project Web site and blog at to stay up to date on the project and contribute your ideas for future versions of the app.

Tell everyone about it

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one’s around to broadcast it… Promotion is the key to success. Tell your listeners on air, on your Web site, in your Web streams and podcasts. Your involvement powers the Tuner. We’ll be posting promotional materials and ideas soon at; in the meantime, you can get them from the APM stations site.

The Public Radio Tuner project collaborators

5 thoughts on “Public Radio + iPhone = Public Radio Tuner”

  1. I want the WVXU station in Cincinnati to be available on the Public Radio Tuner…..


  2. @Bob,
    WVXU is only streaming in windows media audio format. I think the public radio tuner only plays mp3 and aac streams. Check out ooTunes Radio which has that stream already in the database.

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