With ‘Up First,’ NPR has created a bite-sized, podcast version of ‘Morning Edition’

April 3, 2017
Category: Tech & Tools

With a network of local stations that criss-cross the United States and a roster of hit podcasts to its name, NPR has big — and often separate — audiences on the radio and internet.

NPR’s newest podcast, “Up First,” aims to reach the digital audience with a spin on a tried-and-true radio product.

The 10-minute daily news podcast, which has been months in the making, is a hybrid of sorts between podcast and newsmagazine that’s set up to take advantage of broadcast’s newsy-ness with the convenience of on-demand podcasting, said Sarah Gilbert the Executive Producer of Morning Edition.

“Eventually, after talking and talking and pitch and counterpitch, we came up with a pleasingly simple idea,” Gilbert said. “We’re going to take the first 10 minutes of what we call the ‘A1’ section of “Morning Edition,” and we’re going to use it as an onramp for the day’s news.”

Here’s how it works: After “Morning Edition” begins broadcasting at 5 a.m., NPR producers will quickly edit the first 10 minutes of the show into a bite-sized podcast and push that out by 6 a.m. At 7 a.m., the second feed of “Morning Edition” starts, and the content in its first 10 minutes will be different from the first feed at 5 a.m.

This staggered publication approach will allow NPR to get its listeners a quick news briefing first thing in the morning and a more in-depth, reported edition as the morning progresses.

“We want this to be meaningful for both the terrestrial audience and also for the on-demand audience,” said Neal Carruth, the general manager of podcasting at NPR.