NPR One…Probably Not the New Netflix

Maybe I’m bias because I’m not a big radio person, but to be fair, I don’t know many individuals in my generation who would choose to sit and listen to a podcast rather than stream their favorite Friends episode off of Netflix from their laptop. It feels a little reminiscent of 1938’s War of the Worlds hysteria, you know that image of the family gathering around the radio and listening to Annie type of thing.

Photo courtesy of

To be fair NPR One’s android application progresses itself enough that you see it is trying its best to steer itself away from that late 30’s feel. The application is pretty neat, and I’ll give it a pat on the back for it’s attention to skips and tags. It began to customize as I interacted more with each story that came up, and soon I was receiving a lot of content under the category that I (surprisingly) found myself interested in, “Tech.”

My List of Stories:

1. Yspilanti Begans Plans for an International Elementary School

2. Special Needs Programs in Ann Arbor Receive Assistance

3. Bipartisan Panel Issues Urgent Call to Overhaul U.S. Prison System

4. Modern Rent Parties Highlight the Need for Affordable Housing

5. Zika Virus Will Spread Through The Americas, WHO Says

6. How Do You Measure Passion? Figuring the Value of Social Media Friends

7. I Asked a Computer to be My Life Coach

5. Wikipedia at 15: The Struggle to Attract Non-Techy Geeks

8. Is Netflix Chill? Kenyan Authorities Threaten to Ban the Streaming Site

9. Depression Screening Recommended for Pregnant Women 

10. Sexual Assaults on the Rise on U-M Campus

11. Harlem Globetrotters Take the Court at Eastern Michigan

The stories in bold are the ones I found and tagged interesting. Interestingly enough, as soon as I started tagging “interesting” on posts, I noticed there were more posts that were catered to my likes (as you can see in the several posts in a row that are bolded.) However, I didn’t really notice the app steering away from stories I skipped. Anything that had to do with politics I skipped (my father would not be proud) and most of the local content I skipped as well. Both the political and local content was re-appearing on the application, perhaps a bit fewer and farther between, but I felt like it could have left a bit more of this type of content I was disregarding out of my playlist.

Gif courtesy of

In terms of the local content, truth be told, I don’t really care much about what’s happening in Ann Arbor or Yspilanti. Although Michigan resides in those communities, that’s not my community-Michigan is. I tagged a story about sexual assault on U-M’s campus as interesting because it is local content that’s relevant to me. One fault of the application is that it assumes local content is relevant to everyone (which usually it would be), but perhaps, if the application is hoping to tackle the 18-24 age range (Netflix users and college students), it should utilize its ability to pinpoint an exact location. If it takes into account users that are on college campuses and caters local content to what’s occurring on that campus, rather than within the city the campus resides, I think that could be beneficial. Personally, more U-M specific content would have been of much more interest to me.

Gif courtesy of

Because of it’s pretty effective customization and attempt to deliver relevant, local content, but falling slightly short, I give the application an A-. It’s a neat idea, I love the fact that it listens and accounts for the things I like, but it could use some improvement in recognizing what users don’t like and potentially better targeting individuals based on their hyper-specific location.


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