NPR delays implementing new program clocks until at least November

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. Continue Reading

Documentary series The View From Here attracts national attention with multimedia, audience interaction

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. Continue Reading

Former intern sues NPR, alleging employment discrimination

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. Continue Reading

NPR Labs to end run as stand-alone unit after losing consulting work

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. Continue Reading

Day One of NPR One: Some first reactions

NPR’s long-awaited mobile app NPR One launched yesterday, allowing iPhone and Android users to tune into a stream of curated and algorithm-powered newscasts, segments, podcasts and local content. After a brief introduction from NPR host Guy Raz, NPR One prompts users to log in using Google, Facebook or NPR accounts. The app allows users to choose a local station, search for stories and programs and donate via voice-activated prompts. NPR is delaying a marketing push for the app until the fall, after station pledge drives, but eager users are already downloading NPR One and giving it a test run. At Nieman Lab, news analyst Ken Doctor discussed NPR’s aim to appeal to younger audiences and the risk NPR One might pose to stations. Continue Reading

Margot Adler, veteran NPR correspondent, dies at 68

Margot Adler, a longtime NPR correspondent and former contributor to Pacifica Radio, died July 28 after a three-year battle with cancer. She was 68. The granddaughter of renowned Viennese psychotherapist Alfred Adler, she began her radio career in the mid-1960s as a volunteer reporter for Pacifica’s KPFA in Berkeley, Calif. Adler then moved to New York and joined Pacifica’s WBAI in 1972, launching and appearing on local talk shows. In 1978 she joined NPR as a freelance reporter covering New York and became full-time the following year. Continue Reading

Madison Hodges, longtime station manager and pubradio advocate, dies at 66

Madison Hodges, a longtime manager of public radio stations and advocate for the system who worked to increase the community impact of pubcasters nationwide, died July 18 in Tallahassee, Fla., from cardiac arrest following treatment of a rare bone cancer. He was 66. Hodges ran several university-licensed public radio stations over the course of his career and served as executive director of the University Station Alliance. He also oversaw station services at NPR and spearheaded initiatives with the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program to increase community involvement, help licensees secure CPB funding, identify gaps in public radio’s coverage and quantify stations’ community impact for license-holders. He began his broadcasting career as a reporter for a commercial radio station in Little Rock, Ark., before joining the city’s public radio station, KUAR. Continue Reading

New digital offerings from NPR, PBS promise closer look at how users consume content

New digital offerings from NPR and PBS aim to give public media additional platforms for building online audiences while gaining insights into how listeners and viewers interact with digital content. These digital initiatives — PBS’s Membership Video on Demand service and NPR’s long-awaited NPR One app — were demonstrated and discussed during the Public Media Development & Marketing Conference in Denver July 9-12. The frequent name-changes for NPR’s mobile app during its development — it has been variously referred to as “Project Carbon,” “Infinite Player” and “MPX” — prompted laughter among PMDMC attendees when recounted by Zach Brand, NPR’s v.p. of digital media. But the roulette wheel has stopped, and the name NPR One is now locked in. The app, which will be released in a soft launch later this month, uses an algorithm and user feedback to create an audio stream fusing NPR content with newscasts and segments provided by stations. Continue Reading