NPR has released the final versions of the new clocks for its newsmagazines and set a date of Nov. 17 for their implementation. The network unveiled proposed clocks in July after more than a year of work that involved staff and representatives from member stations. The clocks are the second-by-second scheduling of what happens when during the newsmagazines, including newscasts, music beds and funding credits. They also affect when stations can insert their own local content.
The month-long election for NPR's Board of Directors closed Monday, with two incumbents and two new faces joining the board. NPR announced Tuesday that Mike Crane, director of Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison, and Mike Savage, g.m. of WBAA in West Lafayette, Ind., will join the board. For what is believed to be the first time, Savage got on the ballot with a written petition signed by at least 15 authorized representatives. Candidates are usually picked by a selection committee headed by the NPR board chair. Incumbents Caryn Mathes, g.m. of KUOW in Seattle, and Flo Rogers, c.e.o. of KNPR in Las Vegas, were re-elected to second terms, and Patricia Diaz Dennis and former NPR interim CEO Paul G. Haaga Jr. were re-elected as public directors.
The public radio economy is built on $432 million in annual listener contributions to local public radio stations. Each year nearly 3 million listeners and their families recognize the value of a station brand in their lives, and they voluntarily give that station money. We’ve known since the 1980s that listeners give out of enlightened self-interest, not altruism. The primary motivation for donating to a public radio station is nearly universal — they recognize that the programming they hear via the station brand is personally important and that they would miss it if it were to go away. This finding has been confirmed through multiple studies over decades and more than 1,000 donor surveys conducted over the past nine months by Emodus Research, which I founded last year to learn more about the emotional connections that motivate audiences to listen and donate to public stations.
NPR will postpone implementing new clocks for its flagship newsmagazines until at least November after hearing concerns that an earlier transition could interfere with stations’ fund drives and coverage of midterm elections. The network initially proposed starting the new schedules for Morning Edition and All Things Considered Sept. 22. But stations and the board of the Public Radio Program Directors Association asked for more time. When setting the initial date for implementation, NPR “did a good job of trying to find a time not in the middle of fundraising,” said PRPD President Arthur Cohen.
A documentary series produced by Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, Calif., focuses solely on issues in the station's home state yet has attracted attention from NPR and a national audience by creating digital content to accompany hourlong radio documentaries. Launched in 2011, The View From Here comprises two in-depth multimedia documentaries a year. Though the focus is local, the show's producers choose topics that often transcend California's borders, such as high-school dropout rates and autism among adults. The most recent documentary, “Who Cares,” examined the physical and emotional toll of caring for parents, spouses and children with disabilities. In addition to a radio documentary, "Who Cares" included photos, videos and a blog, Caregivers Speak, which collects stories about family caregivers.
A deaf college student has filed a lawsuit against NPR for employment discrimination, claiming that the network misrepresented the terms of the internship and failed to properly accommodate her needs during her employment. Catherine Nugent, a student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., filed the lawsuit in the District of Columbia Superior Court in March. Nugent, a major in business administration, alleges that the network did not give her tools she needed to communicate with supervisors. The suit also claims that Nugent was assigned to teach sign-language classes to her colleagues though she had expected to learn about marketing. Nugent claims that NPR did not provide interpreters or interpreting software and fired her two weeks into the 10-week internship after she asked for accommodation multiple times.
NPR will integrate NPR Labs into its general budget and tighten its focus on public radio after almost five years of running the division as self-sustaining. Under the restructuring, NPR Labs will transition from its status as a stand-alone unit and move from NPR’s distribution division to its technology and operations division. NPR Labs will also drop the Technology Research Center name that it used to market consulting work to clients. The restructuring eliminated the top job at NPR Labs, held by Rich Rarey, a 34-year NPR veteran. Rarey, who will leave July 31, took the job of director of NPR Labs in February when founding director Mike Starling took a voluntary buyout offer and retired.