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.

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.

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.

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.

NPR, WAMU limit use of Washington football team’s name

An NPR editor has recommended that network journalists avoid referring to the Washington Redskins by their name and should instead use "Washington" or "the team" as much as possible. Standards & Practices Editor Mark Memmott provided the guidance Oct. 10 amid a growing backlash against a name that is a racial slur. Memmott said he is not calling for an outright ban, but that use of the name should be curtailed under the organization’s policy regarding potentially offensive language. “The team’s name is the name and our job is to report on the world as it is, not to take a position or become part of the story,” Memmott wrote.

NPR podcast on Latino culture crosses over to radio

An NPR podcast hatched from a friendship four years ago took a step in its evolution earlier this month, becoming a weekly radio show focused on Latino music and culture. Edited down from the weekly podcast’s 40 minutes, the half-hour Alt.Latino debuted Oct. 2 and is airing on stations in four markets, including Denver and San Francisco. The “alt” in the title refers to the show’s exploration of subjects that co-host and co-creator Jasmine Garsd sees as underreported by other media outlets. “We started off with a lot of indie music, but as the show grew we saw it more as delving deeper into Latin culture,” Garsd said.