Getting Fresh Air With Your 'Fresh Air'

A new version of the Public Radio Player launched on the Apple apps store this morning, making it a whole lot easier to keep up with some of our  favorite public radio shows – including the Philadelphia based (and nationally syndicated)  “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,”   and local  news magazine “Radio Times” from WHYY. Oddly unavailable, though, were the same radio station’s  always entertaining  “You Bet Your Garden” hosted by my keepin' it green bud Mike McGrath and  WXPN’s big national calling card “World Café” with David Dye.

It was Gross herself who turned me onto the PRP app, after a chance encounter at the supermarket when I mourned I was no longer in the car every night listening to her 7 p.m. repeat. “So why not listen to the internet version  on your iPhone, while you’re on the bus or walking home?” she suggested.

The free Public Radio Player lets you hone in to stations by content or location  - in Philly also giving instant and preset access to WRTI’s classical and jazz streams and both primary and secondary (HD) channels from WXPN.

 Now with the newly launched  version of the app, you can also download programs for storage and future playback when you aren’t on Wi-Fi, have intermittent phone service or don’t wish to to dip into your data bucket. (Truth is, radio doesn’t consume all that much.) .

The revised  app also lets you set a wake-up call to a station or podcast and view tweeting news headlines from stations. It updates the player for improved audio performance.  And now you can donate to a public station with the tap of an on-screen button.

The app is optimized for iPhone 5 and likewise compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and 4S  plus iPod touch (3d, 4th and 5th generation ) and all  iPads. Requires iOS 5.1.

 A version for Android devices is on the back burner, said a Public Radio Exchange spokesperson, held back by “budget constraints.”

Of course, public radio stations also are accessible through free apps like TuneIn Radio available on Android as well. And select public radio podcasts  - including “Fresh Air,”  “This American Life” and “A Prairie Home Companion” can be found and subscribed to in the iTunes store, though  not with the same ease of  the PRP app.