“At least on the Web, you can amend. The ethic of the Web is to say what you know as quickly as you can, and then reiterate over and over again. The Web is kind of a self-cleaning oven, and what you have up there can grow more accurate as time goes by. That’s never true of print. It’s always there for the ages.”—David Carr: A Media Omnivore Discusses His Diet : NPR (via thisistheverge)
WHYY do you ask? (Actually, I’m sure they do, but not really to me. Most of the people I hang out with are in grad school and don’t pay much attention to things outside their next test/presentation/patient encounter.)
A lot of people have emailed me recently to ask this. Here’s what I say: First, I don’t know why I was selected and I’m not sure what they’re looking for. The two other Krocs my year were seasoned world-travelers and had clips from all over the world; I had barely left South Jersey and Philly before applying.
I sent in three columns from my college newspaper for my clips. In my cover letter, I explained why public radio was a good fit for me. There was a 3 month wait in between applying and finding out about the finalist stage.
If you get to the DC stage, they ask for story ideas. I’d come with several. The one everyone liked that I pitched was about fun activities taking place at the South Pole, so that the scientists don’t get bored. NPR called me three days later. In the interim, I applied for every job opening on their website, because I knew I really wanted to work there.
But there are many jobs/internships within NPR and at member stations, so if you don’t get it, I’d apply for those as well. Many of my friends in the public radio world started out that way or at member stations, and are still very happy in those jobs at member stations or at HQ.
does npr play classical music? if so, what is the schedule? i'd love to listen to it while driving :)
It really depends on your local station. In Philly, there’s a station called WRTI up at Temple which plays jazz at night and classical during the day. You can google ‘public radio’ AND ‘classical’ AND ‘the_city_where_you_live’ and probably find something, or stream another station online.
A comment more than a question: Please don't listen (too much) to people who complain about Fresh Air "dumbing down" with interview subjects like Louis CK, Kevin Clash, Muppet guys, Tina Fey, etc. They are far and away my favorite. Even though I know I should, I can't listen to the serious stuff--Iraq, Wall Street, etc. Keep the mix alive! Thanks from devoted listener.
Thanks. I think we’ll continue to have all sorts of topics. (The last 2 years have made me much more invested/interested in the news/current affairs, but I enjoy the comedian interviews too.) I like that we mix it up.
Would you consider labeling podcasts by the guest/topic rather than date? I'm primarily a podcast listener and would download with more regularity if I knew upfront what each covered. Just a thought.
We get this request literally every day and NPR in DC handles our podcast, so we can’t change it from Philly.
The last time I asked for this — less than a month ago — they said there’s an alternate podcast you can download that’s taken from the API feed with podcast titles. But the show is separated into individual segments. (i.e. the interviews are downloaded separately.) I hope this helps. The individual segments will let you know exactly what’s on, if you want to go that route.
How do you choose your guests? And how can we make suggestions for guests?
We have a meeting every Friday where the producers pitch ideas and then make a schedule based on open slots in our interview schedules. Everyone here pitches ideas and guests. We’re constantly reading/watching to find new people/ideas.
Could you talk a little bit about the taping of the show itself? Do the guests come in person or are they on the phone? How long is the interview before it gets edited down for radio? How long is the staff preparing questions in advance of each interview. Is there a magic number of questions Terry has written down in advance or is the interview more freeform?
Most of our guests are in a studio close to their house. They only come to Philadelphia (where we are) if Philadelphia is the closest studio to their house. This is actually nice because no one has to get dressed up.
Interviews last between 60-75 minutes and then are edited to fit our schedule and format of each show.
The associate producers who do the research generally work a day or two ahead of time. Terry comes up with a list of questions but we can ask her to ask a guest something (I’ve done this a bunch of times) and also goes freeform during the interview, meaning she lets the answers dictate where she’s going next. A lot of times, this means not relying on the questions she has written down, and just going with the flow.
how does Local NPR stations decide on what programing to air? is there any required NPR programing on all stations?
There’s nothing required. I’m not involved in the process here at WHYY but I think it’s based on cost of programs, what audience members want, and how much original programming can be provided. But that’s more a guess than an actual answer. I’ll ask around to see if the programming director wants to give a much more nuanced answer to this. :)
The Fresh Air Tumblr now has more followers than the Fresh Air Facebook page, and is slowly inching towards the Twitter Feed. It will probably surpass the Twitter feed in a month or two, I’m guessing. I don’t know if this means anything, but I thought it was worth mentioning.