Fresh Air Tumblr FAQ (covers behind the scenes and jobs in public radio)
Who are you?
My name is Mel Kramer. I’m an associate producer at Fresh Air. Before this, I was an associate producer and director at Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. I graduated from college in 2006 with a degree in English and a minor in the History and Sociology of Science.
Where can I find the music bed/guest/topic that I heard on Fresh Air?
We post all of that information on the show’s rundown each day. You can find the rundowns listed here. Here’s the NPR website search form. And here’s a way to search just the content on our show (if you remember a guest and not a date.)
How does Terry Gross prepare for her guests/interviews? Where are the guests located?
Terry reads a ton of stuff every night when she goes home. (She actually carries a little cart back and forth to work.) The associate producers here research each of the guests and provide Terry with background, articles, books, clips, movies, TV shows, etc. Terry reads all of it and then writes up a list of questions. But a lot of times during interviews, she goes with the flow of the interview, and thinks of new questions.
The guests go to a studio close to their homes/offices. So unless they live in Philadelphia (where we are) we generally don’t see them. The interviews can run anywhere from 2 hours after they’re taped (we call this a turnaround) or a few days/weeks later.
Why are your podcasts labeled with dates and not with titles?
I agree, it would be much more user friendly to have the names of the interview guests listed on the podcast. But as it has been explained to us by the people who have to manage all of the online audio, even changes which would seem to be simple involve a number of small complications which would need to be resolved. It is on the list of items which we hope to refine.
For now, there’s an alternate podcast with titles that you can use. It splices the show into individual segments.
How do I get a job in public radio or at Fresh Air/NPR?
I started working at NPR in 2006 as a Kroc Fellow. Before that, I had no exposure to radio and only wrote for my college newspaper. The Kroc was a fantastic way to get into the public radio system, but it’s not the only way to get involved.
Many of my friends who work at NPR, APM, PRI and for local stations started interning at a local station or show, or at NPR in DC. They then started pitching stories to editors and/or stuck around for a temp gig, which turned into permanent employment.
If I were in college now, I’d have a Tumblr, a Facebook page, a Twitter account — and I’d be pumping out content AND reaching out to people online who I liked — corresponding with them, following them and seeing what and how they post. I see a LOT of job postings on social media sites from other journalists. And there are tons of audio producers from NPR/local stations online. I’d follow the people who live close to you and ask how best to pitch ideas…
Public radio is like any other journalism job: writing a lot, reading a lot, being aware of potential story ideas, knowing web stuff to make yourself versatile, etc.
Does Fresh Air offer an internship program?
Unfortunately the show doesn’t have an internship program, but our station WHYY has interns.
Can you have [insert person’s name here] on Fresh Air?
We’re always looking for interesting guests. Shoot me an email: mkramer AT whyy DOT org if you’d like to suggest someone
What is your job?
My job is basically to write and produce all the stuff that goes up on our website and also to write the one-minute billboard at the top of every show. Most of the time, I’m writing copy and/or producing websites and/or finding clips to use in the show/doing research/looking up stuff on future guests/writing headlines and teasers/reading chapters from books/watching clips/movies/etc.
Every day I write about a different topic (science, medicine, the economy, politics, comedy etc. etc.) and try to figure out how to encapsulate the show for a web audience. I also write all the headlines and stuff for all of the pieces we run.
The social media stuff is extra, just basically because I enjoy it. I started this tumblr because the show didn’t have a blog and it seemed like a good way to connect with people. So I do the tumbring when I have a second and can get away from my other stuff here. But it’s not part of the actual job.
More questions, comments, concerns? Please email me, mkramer AT whyy DOT org. Or you can tweet @nprfreshair or @mkramer.