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NPR Podcasts Expand To Weekends; Network Plans More Series For Subscription Service.

The news doesn't stop after the work week ends says NPR, believing weekends are an opportunity to take deeper dives than busy weekdays allow. So it is expanding a pair of its news podcasts to the weekends starting this Saturday.

The daily afternoon podcast Consider This will add a sixth episode to its roster. Hosted by “Weekend All Things Considered” anchor Michel Martin, the podcast will publish an episode each Saturday afternoon. And on Sunday, the Up First morning news podcast will drop its first weekend episode. It will be hosted by “Morning Edition” anchor Rachel Martin who already cohosts the weekday version of Up First.

"We are delighted to bring two of our finest voices to weekend audiences hungry for a deeper dive: Michel Martin will be hosting Consider This, reaching podcast listeners with her incisive and nuanced hosting style on Saturdays. And on Sundays, Rachel Martin, already the trusted guide to the news for Up First listeners, will showcase the best of the week's long-form journalism," said VP for News Programming Sarah Gilbert.

NPR says the combination of the two represents a significant expansion of weekend programming for its daily news podcast portfolio. It also helps NPR reach a younger demographic. The network says the median Up First listener is 32 years old, and according to a recent audience survey, 15% of the podcast’s audience had no previous experience with NPR programming.

"With this expansion of our daily news podcasts into weekends, as well as our other short form daily offerings on different topics, we are providing listeners with choices to create an on-demand playlist that best fits their interests and needs," said Neal Carruth, Senior Director of On-Demand News Programming at NPR.

Saturday episodes will be available in the Consider This feed by 6pm ET beginning January 8. Sunday episodes will be available in the Up First feed by 8am ET beginning January 9.

Separately, NPR executives told Axios they plan to launch several new series to its NPR+ service starting with The Limits sports podcast hosted by NBA star-turned-ESPN personality Jay Williams. Subscribers will have access to exclusive weekly nuggets of inspiration from Jay and his guests -- such as a book they read, a daily routine they maintain that helps them stay on top, a piece of advice they got from a mentor that helped them reach their next level, or a defining moment that became a catalyst to their success.

“There will be a separate drop each week in the feed that subscribers to that podcast will have access to,” VP Joel Sucherman told Axios. The Limits brings the total number of exclusives on NPR+ to nine podcasts, including How I Built This, Code Switch and Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me.

NPR will also add more bonus content to the NPR+ subscription offering that costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 for a year. That revenue is shared with local NPR affiliates. By year-end VP Sucherman said the network also plans to make a podcast bundle one of the benefits that listeners will be offered when becoming a member to their local NPR station.

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