I don't fully get the idea, but it feels good to read.
A progress bar would be nice though, so one could get a sense of how long the article is. You could say the time to read at the top helps, but it feels hidden. Its dull colour, makes it becomes easy to glance past and not notice it. It should be a key information you want the reader to know, and this can be potrayed with a sharper colour.
It would also be nice, if the play-next button was fixed to the bottom of the screen, instead of having each new message push it down. It made me lose concerntration on the story as I had to move my eyes to look for the button.