NPR app offers curated guide to podcasts

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NPR launched a podcast discovery tool Tuesday that highlights episodes of more than 200 commercial and noncommercial podcasts with recommendations by listeners, celebrities and radio and podcasting professionals.

Earbud.fm is modeled after NPR’s Book Concierge, which was created as an alternative to year-end book lists. “There’s a tremendous amount of audio out there that you just can’t fathom and you can’t make sense of with something that’s a blunt instrument like the iTunes Store, which only lists the top 10 most popular podcasts,” said Brian Boyer, NPR Visuals editor, in an interview with Current earlier this year.

NPR solicited recommendations from podcast listeners and received about 6,000 submissions for over 800 different podcasts. A panel of podcast experts collaborated with NPR’s Arts, Books & Culture desk to make final decisions about which podcasts and episodes to feature.

“We understand this is a particular challenge since NPR and public radio are among the largest producers of podcasts, so we devised a system to use audience recommendations vetted by a team of external and internal reviewers to come up with the most interesting and impartial recommendations,” said Michael Oreskes, NPR’s senior v.p. of news and editorial director, in a press release. “We are confident that earbud.fm will provide users the same kind of quality recommendations our Book Concierge does every year.”

The web app will update with new shows and will add new recommendations. NPR will notify listeners of updates with an email newsletter.

“We are open to all topics, we want to hear about big and small podcasts, just please if you are a podcast producer don’t send us your own, recommend your favorite podcast that you did not produce yourself,” said Ellen Silva, NPR’s supervising senior editor for arts, entertainment, culture, books and ideas, in the press release.

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