Possibility of native ads on pubradio sparks concern

DENVER — A public radio station’s foray into native advertising, which seamlessly integrates paid content into a website’s editorial fare, stirred strong opinions at a July 10 session at the annual Public Media Development & Marketing Conference. Attendees packed the room to hear about plans for native advertising on the site of Southern California Public Radio in Pasadena, Calif. The broadcaster received a $33,000 grant in April from the Investigative News Network and the Knight Foundation to experiment with native advertising, also known as sponsored content. Over the six-month pilot stage, which ends in December, SCPR will develop a native-advertising framework for online and mobile platforms. “SCPR believes that the framework emerging from this grant will map out the common ground between the interests of its audience, underwriters, and journalistic principles,” INN said in a statement about the grant when it was announced. “At its conclusion, the organization will be much closer to determining whether sponsored content is a viable revenue stream for mission-driven, nonprofit content producers.”

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, native advertising encompasses “paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”

In experimenting with native advertising, SCPR joins nonprofits Voice of San Diego and the Texas Tribune, which began placing native ads on their websites this year.

NPR cancels ‘Tell Me More’, cuts 28 staff positions

A mandate for a balanced budget and a drive to reduce its production commitments spurred NPR to cancel Tell Me More, one of the few remaining broadcast shows outside of its newsmagazines that the network produces itself. NPR will end the production as of Aug. 1 as part of a broader newsroom restructuring announced May 20. Twenty-eight jobs in its newsroom and library will be cut; eight of the positions are currently unfilled. Tell Me More, a weekdaily program featuring host Michel Martin and focusing on news topics related to people of color, now airs on 136 stations.