Tag Archives: NPR

NPR Launches Up First Morning News Podcast



NPR Up First logoPodcasting is a medium that hasn’t traditionally been served well by shows that push the headlines of the day. Despite its on-demand nature, many podcasts are still downloaded and consumed later. Thus, a show carrying this format would have a very short shelf life. For a daily news show to be practical, it’d probably need to come from a source already trading in that kinda thing. Enter NPR’s new Up First podcast:

Up First will publish every weekday by 6 a.m. EST and feature lively conversation about the day’s top news stories produced with the same journalistic DNA of Morning Edition. Hosts David Greene, Rachel Martin and Steve Inskeep will talk with NPR journalists and correspondents to preview the news that will drive the day.

NPR has promised that its Up First news show will be available in all of the typical podcast-listening places. If you’d like to get your morning news fix from NPR, you can subscribe to Up First in iTunes or listen to the show within the NPR One app.

If any organization can make a go of a daily news show, it’s NPR. Time will tell if it turns out to be a successful endeavor for the public radio juggernaut.


NPR Partners with iHeartRadio for Distribution



NPR logoNPR and iHeartMedia announced an agreement that will allow NPR’s Member stations to make their live News Talk programing available via iHeartRadio. This partnership enables NPR’s Member stations to get more distribution, and adds content to iHeartRadio.

The agreement allows more than 260 NPR Member stations to have the opportunity to stream their live programing on iHeartRadio, which is available across more than 80 unique device platforms including in-home entertainment, wearables, gaming consoles, enhanced audio dashboards, and more. iHeartRadio has over a billion app downloads, more than 85 million registered users and its network reaches more than 85 million social followers.

Put that all together, and the partnership gives NPR Member stations the ability to reach millions of new listeners worldwide. Part of the agreement is that all NPR Member stations that join iHeartRadio will have access to 50% of their individual iHeartRadio landing page’s digital banner inventory to encourage listeners to donate and directly support the station’s public programing.

Public radio fans can visit iHeartRadio.com to check out all available News Talk programing. iHeartRadio offers instant access to thousands of live radio stations from across the country, custom artist stations from a catalog of more than 24 million songs and 830,000 artists, on-demand podcasts and a feature called “My Favorites Radio”, which combines all of a listener’s favorite artist and thumbed up songs in one station.


“Best of Car Talk” Will End in September of 2017



Best of Car Talk logoNPR has announced that the weekly broadcast production of the Best of Car Talk programs will end after September 30, 2017. That gives fans about a year to listen to this popular show.

NPR intends to make the 2016-2017 season of Best of Car Talk the best of the best. They will be editing and enhancing and programing the very best of the 30 year series.

Car Talk started as a program on WBUR in 1977, and its longtime home base was in Boston. The show gained listeners and then made its national debut with NPR in 1987. Car Talk has been produced at WBUR for all of its 39 years, a rather remarkable feat.

Car Talk ended production of brand-new episodes in 2012 with the retirement of the iconic hosts, Tom and Ray Magliozzi. The two brothers were mechanics and immensely enjoyable to listen to. They stepped away from the show when Tom Magliozzi’s health was declining. He died in 2014 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, Car Talk remains a favorite among more than 2.6 million loyal listeners every week. NPR says that stations that are interested in continuing to broadcast more traditional repeats of Car Talk after September 2017 will have the option to do so. Listeners will also be able to enjoy weekly podcasts of the 30-year series after September 30, 2017.

The Car Talk website, Facebook page, Twitter, and other social media will continue to both serve their existing audiences and, as NPR puts it “to provide opportunities for engagement for all listeners, on podcast or radio”. The Car Talk vehicle donation program will also continue.


Podcasts Coming to Google Play Music Tomorrow



Google Play logoIt’s been almost six months since Google announced it would be adding podcasts to its Google Play Music service. Since then, a limited number of podcasts have trickled out thru the platform. It now appears that Google will officially launch the podcasting side of Google Play Music on Monday, April 18th. The launch date was discovered as part of an internal NPR e-mail that was leaked to the public. The date hasn’t been confirmed by Google representatives.

The internal NPR message allegedly contains this statement:

Google will launch podcasts on Android and other platforms next Monday, April 18, inside of Google Play Music, a streaming service similar to Apple Music. Please note: this information is embargoed and should not be shared or promoted externally until Monday. NPR has worked with Google to ensure that public radio is represented in the Google Play environment.

Given NPR’s monolithic presence in the podcast space, it seems logical that the organization would want to be prepared for the launch of a new platform carrying its programs. That gives some legitimacy to the nature of the e-mail. Considering how cagey Google has been about its entrance into podcasting, it’s hard to say what this information will mean for all podcasters.

If you haven’t yet submitted your own podcast to the Google Play Music directory, you can do so here.


Binging on Transcribed Advertisements – PCN Show 029



PCN iTunes artworkIn this episode, Shawn and Jen discussing “binge-listening”, touch on the recent NPR controversy, and bring up an often overlooked reason why it is important to transcribe your podcast episodes.

Links Mentioned in this episode:

* Listening is the New Watching: The Best Podcasts to Binge-Listen While You’re Traipsing Around Campus
By Jasmine Kemper on College Times

* Deaf Man pleads with Bill Simmons to transcribe podcasts
By Dan Cahill on National

* This is the most unsatisfying thing about podcasts
By Francine Hardaway on Phoenix Business Journal

* Should You Advertise on Podcasts?
By Bob Hutchins on Business 2 Business

* NPR decides it won’t promote its podcasts or NPR One on air
By Joshua Benton on Neiman Lab

* Why NPR Changed How It Talks About Podcasts
By Elizabeth Jensen on NPR


Reactions to NPR’s New Measurement Guidelines



NPR logoThere’s been a lot of talk about measurement in the podcasting space as of late. As more attention has become focused on the medium in terms of press coverage and money, the pressure has been on for podcasters to come up with a standard for measuring podcast plays. Groups like IAB (and the Association of DownloadableMedia before it) have tried to come up with a consensus on how podcast downloads and plays should be measured. It’s been an ongoing process that’s taking feedback from hundreds of different digital media services and content creators.

It looks like NPR didn’t want to wait for an industry-wide consensus on measurement. Last week, the public media giant released Public Radio Podcast Measurement Guidelines v1.1, a comprehensive document that shows how NPR defines what should (and shouldn’t) be counted as a podcast download. In the document’s introduction, it refers to the current state of podcast measurement as “the Wild West,” implying that, when it comes to podcast stats, anything goes. The document also notes that its “standards” were created solely by NPR and its related organizations. No input was considered from IAB before NPR went public with these guidelines.

On one level, NPR deserves some credit for trying to move the measurement process forward. But from a different angle, the organization has just trampled over podcast measurement systems that have been in place for years. In an article on Observer’s Business & Tech site, Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at LibSyn gave his thoughts on NPR’s measurement guidelines:

…Rob Walch, a vice president at Libsyn, sees the public radio guidelines differently. ‘I think the way they went about this was heavy handed and arrogant at best,’ Mr. Walch said in a phone call with the Observer. He objected especially to the document opening with the ‘wild west’ language, when, he argues, companies in the podcasting industry, such as his, Blubrry and Podtrac, have been discussing this question for some time. ‘The reality is that podcasting has been around for 11 years, and there are companies that understand podcasting methods better than NPR,’ he added.

Blubrry also crafted its own response to NPR’s measurement guidelines:

For the past 11 years, RawVoice / Blubrry and other leading companies in the podcasting space have worked tirelessly to provide accurate reporting to podcasters and media buyers. The ‘Wild West’ statement in the document is unwarranted, RawVoice / Blubrry is asking the coalition to retract the language, and publicly recognize those who have successfully championed meticulous, rigorous and precise podcast reporting.

It’s hard to say for sure how these new NPR guidelines will affect podcast statistics going forward. Due to the massive popularity of NPR shows, the organization can throw around a lot of weight in the podcasting space. If media buyers who place ads on podcasts look at NPR’s statistics method as the best way to gather download numbers, will those buyers then force other, more established statistics platforms, to fall in line?

Disclosure: I work part-time with the Blubrry support team and Podcaster News Executive Editor Todd Cochrane is the CEO of Rawvoice, parent company of Blubrry.


Meta Explosion – PCN Show 022



PCN iTunes artworkWe’ve decided to take things in a new direction with the Podcaster News Show, starting with this episode. Hosts Shawn Thorpe and Jen Thorpe will bring you a run-down of the podcasting related articles that we found interesting, but that didn’t get a write-up on the Podcaster News website.

Links Mentioned in this episode:

* Confessions of a Podcast Addict
By Rebecca Ladd at The Odyssey Online

* So You Wanna Make a Podcast/You Have a Review Request
By Captnq on Reddit

* NPR Editorial Training
A comprehensive guide to NPR’s editorial methods for content

* These 3D Printing Designers Used Podcasting To Create a Massive Audience Fast
By Cheryl Conner at Forbes

* 37 Podcasts So Meta, They All Cover the Topic of Podcasting Itself
By Harry Duran on Medium


NPR Launches Podcast Discovery Portal earbud.fm



earbud.fm logoFinding new podcasts to listen to can be a challenge. Log into any major podcast app or directory and you’re immediately confronted with thousands of possibilities. Standard conventions like categories, subcategories, publisher-specific pages, ratings, and reviews are usually offered to help users find “the good stuff.” But these systems are far from perfect, often leaving much to be desired.

Since podcasting’s earliest days, many different services have tried to solve this problem. Yet, none of them have really found one true solution. With the launch of its new earbud.fm, NPR has become the latest entrant into the podcast discovery game.

Instead of relying on mechanical meta data, earbud.fm describes itself in word-of-mouth terms:

It isn’t easy to discover new podcasts. There are just SO many out there. Sometimes the best approach is to simply turn to a friend and say, ‘Hey, what are you listening to these days?’ That’s why we created earbud.fm, NPR’s friendly guide to great podcasts. Each of the episodes in this app was hand-picked for you by a listener or a radio/podcast pro. It’s like getting recommendations from a couple hundred of your savviest friends.

At first blush, earbud.fm looks like it’ll be just another outlet to tell us how popular/great This American Life and Serial are. But it turns out earbud.fm may actually recommend podcasts not produced by NPR. The recommendation system works like this:

…we asked listeners to tell us about their favorite podcast episodes. More than 6,000 people responded, recommending episodes from more than 800 different podcasts. There were podcasts devoted to astronomy, beer, breakfast, nuclear arms control and Saved By the Bell. There were poignant stories and informative conversations.

NPR produces a lot of podcasts, and a number of them were submitted for consideration. So to keep things fair, we convened a panel of people from all over the biz who really know their podcasts.

Over the course of the summer, the panelists joined us for multiple rounds of listening and voting. They also had the opportunity to fill in gaps and add podcasts that they felt should be included.

earbud.fm goes on to explain that its system is not ruled by ballot-stuffing listener polls. The creators of earbud.fm admit that the service is far from scientifically accurate. They want earbud.fm to feel more organic than other discovery engines. They even told members of earbud.fm’s advisory panel that they can’t recommend their own shows to be included.

It’s also worth noting that earbud.fm is focused on individual episodes as opposed to overall podcast shows. This approach could make it easier to sample new programs, giving listeners the option to then go and subscribe when they’ve heard something they like.


Ira Glass Takes Complete Ownership of This American Life



This American Life LogoA recurring thread in podcasting news as of late is NPR and its ever-changing relationship to the medium. This trend continues as it was announced this week that This American Life founder Ira Glass has taken complete ownership of the show. Previously, This American Life was co-owned by Glass and Chicago Public Media. But the new arrangement gives complete ownership over to the show’s creator.

Chicago Public Media will still receive a percentage of revenues generated by This American Life (underwriting, station carriage fees and listener donations). All of the show’s staffers will have their employment transferred from Chicago Public Media to the production company owned by Glass.

Glass explained that the main reason for this change is it’ll allow his company to freely explore new creative opportunities. Under the previous arrangement, everything had to be go thru a committee at Chicago Public Media. This caused a lot of friction anytime This American Life producers wanted to get a new project off the ground. And after the breakout success of Serial (a show that was spun off of This American Life), Glass and his staffers are likely eager to launch new and potentially ambitious projects without having to gain permission from public media’s overlords.

Given the success of outlets like Gimlet Media, a company that was founded by a former NPR producer, it’s likely that we’ll see more of these types of transitions in the public media landscape. More and more, these producers are stepping outside of the confines of public media and terrestrial radio and realizing the benefits of going independent.