‘The Pub’ #46: Why NPR’s studio mic sounds better than yours

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(Photo: Alyson Hurt , via Flickr/Creative Commons)

(Photo: Alyson Hurt , via Flickr/Creative Commons)

(Photo: Alyson Hurt via Flickr/Creative Commons)

When you listen to a public radio station, can you tell immediately whether you’re hearing local or national programming? If yes, that no doubt owes to many factors, but one is NPR’s signature mic sound. It’s bright, it’s clear, it’s crisp, and it cuts over the noisiest of cars/trains/planes or whatever is competing with NPR’s programming for the listeners’ ears.

On this Thanksgiving episode of The Pub, we reprise a pair of old segments we did about NPR’s secret mic sauce, including an interview with NPR’s chief audio engineer Shawn Fox, who gladly divulged the recipe.

Also, we revisit our conversation with former Marketplace Money host Tess Vigeland. Since we spoke, her book about quitting your job with no backup plan has come out, and she’s decided on yet another non-plan: traveling the world for who-knows-how-long.

We’ll be back next week with an all-new episode. Consider binging The Pub during your long trips to wherever this holiday weekend, and consider contributing to Current’s year-end fundraiser. This service sustains itself much in the same way yours does. Do your part.

Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily.

We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me at [email protected] or @aragusea on Twitter; my supervising producer at Current, Mike Janssen, is at [email protected]; and you can contact Current generally at [email protected] or @currentpubmedia on Twitter.

If you’d like to offer a comment to be used in the program, please send on-mic tape (recorded in a studio, with a kit, a smartphone, anything) to [email protected] either as an attachment or through Google Drive. Please keep it short!

Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

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