PRI fans, rejoice at the latest version of the PRI app! (PRI stands for Public Radio International, for those of you who are PRI virgins.) The app offers streaming and live, on-demand access to many of your favorite PRI news segments and programs, including This American Life, Studio 360, The Takeaway, and BBC World Service content.
For those unfamiliar with the organization, PRI aims to connect people to global news and American cultural perspectives. This app tries to increase user’s mobile access to their content. Those of you who were not tuned in before are fortunate to start now since PRI updated the app. They listened to user comments and made several changes which you can benefit from. PRI enhanced the app’s graphical interface with version 2.0 which was released on March 30, 2009.
The set-up is broken down by Features, On-Demand, listen live, and more. Go to “Features” to access PRI’s featured stories. The “On-Demand” option will let you stream selected PRI programs 24/7. What is great is that each program is also broken down into different segments so you can easily find your place if for some reason you cannot listen to all of it at once. There is also a brief description of the segment that is shown once you select it from the program. I liked that the segment does not play instantly so you can skim the description and decide if it is worth your time before pressing play. Selecting “listen live” (which should be capitalized Listen Live for conformity’s sake on the app) allows you to listen in on the same stream that others are following at the same time. Another nifty aspect about this app is that if you select the listen live option even once and go to the other options to browse, the live stream will play until you make a different selection. There is also a “More” option so you can share your favorite segments with friends over Facebook, Twitter, and E-mail.
This is a nifty app if you enjoy PRI. If you want streams or on-demand access of other radio stations, then download their apps. Do not complain about that aspect in the iTunes comment section. My gripes are few for this app. Aside from the minor capitalization conformity, the Background Play option (located under listen live) which promises to play in Mobile Safari does not deliver. The option fails because it does not allow me to use my device while I am listening to PRI in the background like it promises. When Safari opens or “loads movie”, I cannot minimize the feature and actually use other apps or browse on Safari. I am forced to press the “Done” button which merely stops the stream. Other users also complained about having problems with the app streaming on 3G and Edge phones. I am not sure if this is true since I use wi-fi, but you should be aware of it.
Other than these annoyances, PRI is fantastic for those who want their daily dose of This American Life and only have their iPhone or iPod Touch on hand. It is intuitive, easy to use, and visually appealing. The content is interesting, original, and informative. Like the PRI radio stream, this app is FREE. It is well worth your time and has great replay value. Do not wait until they release Update 3.0 to give this app a try if you have not already–especially if you are a fan of public radio.
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