NPR to close Kabul bureau

When the 13-year international combat mission ends in Afghanistan Dec. 31, NPR’s Kabul bureau will also close. NPR decided in 2012 that it would close the Kabul bureau this year because of the planned reduction of U.S. troops in the country, according to an NPR spokesperson. Starting in 2015, coverage of Afghanistan will be handled by Philip Reeves, NPR’s correspondent based in Islamabad, Pakistan. “We are confident that Phil Reeves can cover the news coming from Afghanistan,” said Edith Chapin, senior supervising editor of NPR’s International Desk, through a spokesperson.

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."

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.