Just what does Minnesota Public Radio’s Bill Kling have in mind for the regional news initiative announced last month as his next act? A $100 million expansion of newsgathering capacity at public radio stations in four to six major markets, reports Newsonomics blogger Ken Doctor. Minnesota Public Radio and KPCC in Los Angeles, sister stations in Kling’s American Public Media family, are planning an alliance with New York’s WNYC and Chicago’s WBEZ. Each participating station would hire 100 reporters and editors.
“That’s ‘public radio’ grown into ‘public media,’ meaning that these news operations would be digital-first, text-heavy and video-ready, while porting over the audio from radio,” Doctor writes. “In other words, not re-purposed ‘radio’ news, but the kind of standalone, multi-platform news operations we’re starting to see, as with TBD in Washington, D.C.”
Kling hinted at the regional initiative last month when announcing his plans to retire and during a speech at the Aspen Institute in August. He described its broad outlines last fall during the Future of News Summit convened at MPR headquarters.
Leave it to Kling to figure this out. And have enough clout to pull it off.