NPR Pods was created out of frustration with NPR's web site. To listen to most stories, 3rd party streaming audio software is required. The streaming audio software is difficult to use, and the streamed audio can be unreliable due to network activity.
An easier more reliable way to listen to stories is via MP3 files. The MP3 format is supported natively by most browsers/OSes, and the files are typically cached locally before playback - which makes them reliable.
NPR does create MP3 for many of its stories, but they are hidden inside podcasts, rather then linked directly from story pages.
The NPR Pods site tries to solve this problem by presenting all of NPR's podcasts on a single page with direct links to the MP3 audio.
NPR Pods is loosely modeled after the aggregation site popURLs, with a 3-column, high-information density layout.
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