Radio news


Chicago startup Rivet News Radio echoes Zite and Pandora for audio news

Text-based journalism has Flipboard and Zite. Music has Pandora. Video has YouTube. Tapping into elements of all these services for a different form of media is Rivet News Radio, the first product from Chicago-based startup HearHere Radio LLC, which launched earlier this month.

The Rivet app — iOS only for now — taps into two of the day’s biggest buzzwords in echoing other new media successes: mobile-friendliness and customizability. It occupies an aural space somewhere between podcasts that you deliberately seek out and radio news that you listen to just because it’s on and you’re trapped in traffic during your commute. Read more


N.C. college boots radio show after it criticizes state representative

NC Policy Watch | The Rant
A North Carolina radio show pulled off the air by its community college sponsors after a complaint by a state representative earlier this month plans to return as a podcast, Sarah Ovaska reports.

Central Carolina Community College in Sanford told the three hosts of “The Rant” they would no longer be welcome to use campus facilities to record their show, which aired on the college’s FM radio station, WDCC. The move came after one of the three hosts posted criticism of state Rep. Mike Stone on the show’s Tumblr blog, which was later discussed on the show the same day. Read more

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Neal Conan: Decision to end Talk of the Nation ‘was not mine’

Neal Conan, the host of “Talk of the Nation,” didn’t use the “R word” when talking about the end of his 11-year stint on the call-in radio show.

“While I will definitely be changing my life after I leave NPR, I would not describe the next phase as ‘retirement,’” he wrote in an email to Poynter. “I will want to catch up on eleven years’ sleep, but expect to remain engaged in public life as a writer, speaker and, who knows, maybe on the radio.”

Conan did not go into detail about NPR’s decision to end production of “Talk of the Nation” and encourage member stations to pick up WBUR’s “Here & Now” instead. He did note, however, “the decision to cease production on TOTN was not mine.”
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NPR’s Kinsey Wilson explains switch from ‘Talk of the Nation’ to ‘Here and Now’

Kinsey Wilson, executive vice president and chief content officer for NPR, clarifies some of reasons why “Talk of the Nation” is headed off the air and is being replaced with lesser-known newsmagazine “Here & Now.”

He said in a phone interview Friday afternoon that while it’s time for NPR’s programming to evolve, that’s not a slight against “Talk of the Nation,” which first began in 1991.

“They really sort of set the standard for call-in shows. They are at the top of their game. Over time, many shows have used that model and adapted it to their needs [in local markets],” said Wilson, a Poynter trustee. “There’s a lot of abundance in that category. What’s not in abundance are shows like ‘Here & Now.’ There’s a real appetite on the part of listeners, program managers and member stations to bridge the gap in our programming.” Read more


NPR to end ‘Talk of the Nation,’ keep ‘Science Friday’

NPR | WBUR | The New York Times
“Talk of the Nation,” the Monday through Thursday afternoon staple of NPR hosted by veteran Neal Conan, will end its 21-year run this summer, the organization announced Friday morning.

NPR is pushing its member affiliates to replace the show with an expanded, two-hour version of “Here & Now,” produced by Boston’s WBUR, from 2-4 p.m. Eastern. That show’s Robin Young will gain a co-host, “Marketplace Morning Report”‘s Jeremy Hobson, and “add a total of six people to produce the expanded show,” the Boston public radio station’s Curt Nickisch writes. The switch begins July 1. Read more


Denver Post’s Dave Krieger picks radio show over sports column

Sports columnist Dave Krieger, who moved to the Post after the Rocky Mountain News closed in 2009, had been guest-hosting a radio show for a while, but when he was offered the gig permanently, he says the newspaper made him choose. He says the move doesn’t reflect on the long-term future of newspapers:

“At my age, long-term does not exist,” he says. “And what happens down the road to print journalism or terrestrial radio, for that matter, are long-term trends. I know old media is less well off than it used to be — more endangered. But if I work for another ten or fifteen years, that’ll be great. So for me, it was about what I wanted to do after getting up tomorrow. And I derive a lot of satisfaction from radio.

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Afternoon digest: Dec. 7, 2011


Jarvis: NPR affiliates ‘are as doomed as newspapers’

Keach Hagey writes that new NPR CEO Gary Knell’s experience in fundraising and public media signals that the public media organization believes funding will be its key challenge in the coming years. Although NPR itself would not be seriously damaged if direct federal funding were eliminated — the money comes through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — local stations rely much more on that money. “The bottom line on the stations is they are as doomed as newspapers,” says Jeff Jarvis, who believes that NPR should give up its federal funding. “Some stations have tremendous local value … But most of the stations are there primarily for their broadcast tower and their value is distribution for national programming. And that’s going to decline markedly.” Craig Curtis, program director for KPCC in southern California, tells Hagey that about 5 percent of the station’s funds comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “While I wouldn’t throw that money back in the pot, it wouldn’t be devastating for us to lose it.” || Related: Does new NPR CEO Gary Knell deliver what member stations want? Read more


Why it’s worth developing a social media strategy, evaluating it along the way

I’m fascinated by scars. They map our medical histories and are clues to some of our best stories. I often ask people for their scar story. I’ve only been sorry once (the man who started sobbing in the grocery line was from Rwanda.)

So when I was thinking about ways to build a patient community on, the station where I’m a health care reporter, I created Your Medical History in Scars. It’s a timeline with compelling individual stories and pictures, as well as milestones in surgery and other body mending techniques.

When you open the timeline, slide down to 1960 and find out about Jay McMichael’s dozen scarring events — not counting his emotional injuries. Check out Oct. 20, 1965. Can anyone add a thought about why LBJ showed the world his gallbladder surgery scar? Slide up to 2011 and the film about Catherine Musinsky’s breast cancer recovery. These are captivating individual stories.

As my first stab at community-building, Scars was a modest success. The timeline has rich stories, but it drew only about 1,100 unique page views over the course of a week. gets just over 500,000 unique visitors a month, with most of the traffic is driven by shows and stories produced by WBUR.

Scars was largely a Web-based project, which brings me to lesson number one. I did not effectively promote it on the air to the nearly 500,000 listeners who tune into the station during a typical week. The Scars project was only mentioned once on air, in a segment I describe below in “Day One.” I experimented with a number of ways to promote Scars using social media, but neglected our main product, the radio.

Here’s my social media strategy and what I learned. …

Day One: The traditional approach

I launched Scars on a Monday with two on-air conversations. First, I talked to our Morning Edition host about what we were doing and why. I asked people to send their stories and pictures to or to post comments to Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook and Twitter responses didn’t include pictures, so they didn’t help me build the timeline.

In the second conversation, we spoke to a surgeon about major changes in his field over the last 30 years. We neglected to mention how listeners could participate (it was a rough day). We did promote Scars on WBUR’s Facebook page and sent out one Tweet. The timeline was on WBUR’s homepage for the first day. I should have used Twitter and Facebook several more times during the week to highlight scar stories and encourage more submissions.

Day Two: The Klout Offensive

I asked five friends and colleagues with reasonably high Klout scores to retweet my call for contributions. (Klout measures levels of influence in social networks.) I tried to get Charlie Sheen to retweet my call, but no luck. My daughter told me to send Lady Gaga a short vlog. I’ll save that ace in the hole for next time. The Klout Offensive produced a second day traffic bump that was 30 percent of the first day traffic peak. It was the easiest and most worthwhile traffic expansion strategy; but I’ll have to expand my list of friends with Klout if I expect to use this technique often.

Day Three: Eye candy

I had some good stuff to lure eyeballs: partially naked women, gross open wounds, a split tongue, etc. But posting these eye-catching images on health blogs didn’t translate into much additional traffic. Maybe I delivered the wrong goods to the wrong sites or maybe voyeurs are, by nature, not participants. In any case, there was no significant third day bump.

Day Four: Using the crowd (volume vanity?)

I asked everyone who submitted a picture and story to post the link on their Facebook wall and send out a Tweet. I’m not sure how many participants did this, but I read four very involved conversations on Facebook. These were closed conversations, among the individual friend groups, and did not lead to additional timeline submissions. So this strategy expanded the conversation, but not in any measurable way.

Day Five: Repackage submissions for the air

This didn’t happen. I did not feel at the end of four days that I had a cohesive story or a few individual stories that warranted time on the air. I had been covering other stories during the week and lost momentum for the project. I imagined other ways to build out Scars (through the Massachusetts Medical Society or some Victims Rights groups, for example), but I didn’t feel that I could justify the time.

A few more lessons on the project as a whole

People love to tell stories about their health, no surprise. But getting all the people who stopped me in hallways or on the street to show me their scar or tell me their story to then send in a picture and paragraph was difficult.

About one-third of the stories I heard or read on Facebook and Twitter became posts on my timeline (38 by week’s end). It seems that asking people to take a picture, send it in and write a short story was too much to ask of even very vocal potential participants.

We had several angry comments from readers/listeners who said the project was a waste of time. “Why don’t you ask people for pet stories next time?” one man asked. Fair enough, but has he seen the traffic pet sites get?

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