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.”
Responding to an opening created by changes to the clock for NPR’s Morning Edition, the BBC is rolling out a 90-second news module for insertion into a bottom-of-the-hour segment designated for local news coverage. The BBC’s Topline will curate top international news stories selected to compliment Morning Edition’s coverage. Stations that subscribe to the BBC World Service through American Public Media can pick it up at no additional cost, but the window for airing it is limited to the newly created 8:31:30 a.m. (Eastern time) break in Morning Edition. Stations are also prohibited from editing it. In a Q&A about the offering, the BBC said its editors will monitor Morning Edition to ensure that the stories featured on Topline don’t overlap with those covered by NPR.
A This American Life story may help a woman prove that Washington, D.C., police violated her civil rights when a detective obtained a false confession from her 18 years ago. Kim Crafton filed a lawsuit Sept. 3 against the Washington Metropolitan Police over the 1994 incident, which became the subject of an October 2013 TAL story. The report featured D.C. Officer James Trainum, who had interrogated Crafton, discussing what led to the false confession in her case. In February 1994, Crafton, who was 19 at the time, confessed to killing D.C. resident Lawrence O’Connell.
An NPR podcast hatched from a friendship four years ago took a step in its evolution earlier this month, becoming a weekly radio show focused on Latino music and culture. Edited down from the weekly podcast’s 40 minutes, the half-hour Alt.Latino debuted Oct. 2 and is airing on stations in four markets, including Denver and San Francisco. The “alt” in the title refers to the show’s exploration of subjects that co-host and co-creator Jasmine Garsd sees as underreported by other media outlets. “We started off with a lot of indie music, but as the show grew we saw it more as delving deeper into Latin culture,” Garsd said.
A new show from the African-American Public Radio Consortium examines issues through the views of artists, activists, academics and journalists — all of them women of color. Hosted by longtime broadcaster Esther Armah, The Spin now airs on WNAA in Greensboro, N.C.; a digital channel of WWFM in Trenton, N.J.; and the Internet station Radio Phoenix. It also airs on commercial radio in Accra, Ghana, and Armah hopes it will find a home on London airwaves as well. Stations in Atlanta and Chicago have also expressed interest. Armah formerly worked for BBC Radio 4 and Pacifica Radio’s New York station, WBAI.
Members of an NPR working group aiming to standardize levels of audio content delivered via the Public Radio Satellite System believe they have found one possible solution to the problem. Programs sent to stations through the PRSS vary widely in volume and may detract from the listener’s experience, according to Chris Nelson, NPR’s director of digital strategy. In May, Nelson shared with the NPR Board results of a study in which about 53 percent of the content examined by the working group deviated from standards PRSS recommends for consistent volumes. The group aims to give stations and producers affordable best practices and resources to help solve the problem. At a meeting Thursday of NPR’s board, Nelson told board members that the working group has consulted with producers and engineers about the issue and conducted a survey to learn how the problem affects stations that use and contribute PRSS content.
An FM signal in Santa Barbara, Calif., recently acquired by KCRW, became the first broadcast home this week for Eclectic24, a previously web-only music stream produced by the Santa Monica–based station. KCRW broadcasts on two signals in the market and is using its former repeater at 106.9 FM as the first over-the-air outlet for Eclectic24. Since June, the station has also been simulcasting its Santa Monica station’s programming on 88.7 FM in Santa Barbara, which it purchased earlier this year. “We’ve never had the opportunity to do an all-music station in L.A., so when this opportunity came up, we grabbed it,” KCRW General Manager Jennifer Ferro said in an email. “It’s always a good thing to have so much programming to share.”
If it proves successful, Eclectic24 might appear on other signals, Ferro said.