NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert searches for new acts

NPR announced Tuesday a contest that will use the platform of its Tiny Desk Concerts to discover up-and-coming musicians. For viewers, the appeal of the Tiny Desk Concert series is watching popular and rising artists — from T-Pain to Timber Timbre — perform in an unusual setting: the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. But the new contest will give smaller acts not signed to a record label the opportunity to perform and gain exposure. "I go to shows, most every night, hoping to find something new and surprising," said Boilen in a press release. "This Tiny Desk Concert Contest is a way for me to, essentially, time travel around the country, hear hundreds of bands that are completely off my radar, and share the most exciting and surprising ones with our music-loving audience." Continue Reading

NPR’s Mohn bolsters Morning Edition promotion challenge with prize

LAS VEGAS — Addressing station executives here Wednesday, NPR CEO Jarl Mohn offered a free year of Morning Edition as the grand prize for the winner of his "Spark Project," a campaign to boost the newsmagazine's audience. Mohn delivered a keynote speech at the annual Public Radio Super-Regional Meeting, held this year at Caesar's Palace. In his speech, he called on the crowd of mostly general managers and station executives to move out of their comfort zones and unite in a push to cross-promote Morning Edition. The CEO is asking public radio stations to air 100 promotions a week from Jan. 14 to June 15, 2015, highlighting local and national stories airing within the newsmagazine. Continue Reading

Public Radio Satellite System adopts new standard for audio levels

The Public Radio Satellite System adopted standards Thursday intended to normalize audio levels among the programs it distributes to stations. PRSS adopted an audio measurement standard using a number to denote audio levels, instead of the longtime industry standard of peak meters. Decibel measurements provided by meters are largely subjective. The loudness unit adopted by PRSS is used by organizations around the world. Because PBS also uses it, joint licensees can now rely on a single standard, which will simplify operations, according to the PRSS working group that approved the change. Continue Reading

BBC crafts module to take advantage of NPR clock changes

Responding to an opening created by changes to the clock for NPR's Morning Edition, the BBC is rolling out a 90-second news module for insertion into a bottom-of-the-hour segment designated for local news coverage. The BBC's Topline will curate top international news stories selected to compliment Morning Edition’s coverage. Stations that subscribe to the BBC World Service through American Public Media can pick it up at no additional cost, but the window for airing it is limited to the newly created 8:31:30 a.m. (Eastern time) break in Morning Edition. Stations are also prohibited from editing it. In a Q&A about the offering, the BBC said its editors will monitor Morning Edition to ensure that the stories featured on Topline don’t overlap with those covered by NPR. Continue Reading

Frank Mankiewicz, former NPR president, dies at 90

Frank Mankiewicz, a former NPR president credited with taking the fledgling network to new levels of professionalism while also overseeing its decline into near-bankruptcy, died of natural causes Oct. 23 at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. He was 90. Mankiewicz led NPR from 1977-83 after a career in politics, during which he served as Robert Kennedy’s press secretary. It was Mankiewicz’s task to announce the assassination of the then-presidential candidate. According to the Public Radio Archives at the University of Maryland, Mankiewicz also worked as a journalist, wrote four books and a syndicated column and delivered commentaries for television. Continue Reading