National Public Radio (NPR) has introduced an API that it says will allow developers to serve up mashups that include audio, images, and full text articles from the non-profit media organization’s archives that go as far back as 1995. You can access an overview of the new API here.
The blurb we received about the release stated that the material available covers “nearly the full depth and breadth of NPR content”, but the terms of service show that this isn’t quite honest. Video content is excluded entirely from the API, along with a number of programs that include The Diane Rehm Show, Radio Labs, Fresh Air and Car Talk. Some of these exclusions are likely due to licensing issues, but the lack of video is frustrating.
Even if NPR isn’t being quite as open as it could be, it represents one of the first media companies to release an API. Most news organizations are often obsessive when it comes to controlling their content, and they dread the prospect of allowing developers to use it as they’d like. The concept of widgets has begun to catch on (you can see CNN’s offerings here), but for the most part, independent developers still don’t have a way to create their own mashups. Another media organization that is making inroads in this space is the New York Times, which intends to release an API some time this summer.
Here’s a sample mashup that uses NPR’s API: