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Using Experience to Enhance News Broadcasts

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“Everyone has a podcast.”

A few months ago I was having a conversation with someone else in the media industry and they offered up this sentiment as a complaint and critique of the current landscape.

It reminded me of a very similar quote from one of my all-time favorite television shows, Parks and Recreation. Aziz Ansari’s character, Tom Haverford, explains to his boss why he’s so obsessed with screens and is non-stop on his phone consuming media.

“Everyone has a podcast, and they’re all awesome,” he said.

That quote really resonated with me, because it’s true. In today’s day and age, everyone is able to host and produce and create content in some way shape or form. That doesn’t mean you have to listen. It just opens the door for multiple opinions, experiences, ideas and creativity.

For example, the Nacho Average Podcast, where Haverford and his friend rate different nachos.

I find myself consuming a ton of different audio on a daily basis. Whether that’s live radio, or podcasts, or a video stream of a podcast, if you’re bold enough to put yourself out there, and the content piques my interest, i’ll definitely give it a chance.

Admittedly, though, I do have a quick hook.

And when it comes to news media – my area of focus here at Barrett News Media – I appreciate when hosts bends the rules we learned in Journalism 101.

The year is 2021, the second a news story breaks the good people at Apple already know if that story is of interest to me, or if the information if pertinent to my location and safety. Before news radio stations can even hit the breaking news hot key, a push notification has been sent to my home screen. Unfortunately, I don’t need to tune in to most stations for an update. It’s already in my pocket.

But most consumers of media want more. I don’t just want a headline written by someone 3,000 miles away. I prefer information and insight from someone who covers the area, who has driven on the local streets and knows a thing or two about the people in the community, and cares about them.

When it comes to news radio hosts, don’t be part of the story, but give listeners your true opinion on a subject based on your experiences. It adds an element of personality that you can’t get anywhere else. It allows consumers to be educated by a voice and experience they already trust. If you’re just reading a headline, listeners are switching to the next show or pod.

This is why diversity is so important in a news room, but more on that at a later date.

Cory Hepola is a host on News Talk 830 WCCO in Minneapolis. He’s a white guy with glasses, great hair and three of the cutest kids you will ever see. They’re black.

So last summer, when Minneapolis was at the center of the country’s racial conversation, his experience and commentary on a lot of the conversation, mattered a great deal. He was able to discuss in-depth what it’s like to grow up a white person in this country, juxtaposed against what it’s like to raise black children, and how the rules and conversations are different.

That experience had to be eye opening for a lot of listeners. A first hand account of real-life situations. Listeners wouldn’t have learned as much as they did had Hepola steered clear and only read the headline.

Not everyone agreed with everything he had to say, I’m sure, there are always doubters and deniers of your truth, but it was an important message, based on experience, that needed to be told.

I asked him about the fine line between discussing a news story and adding in personal anecdotes.

“I think there needs to be more transparency on what is “news” and what is opinion,” he said. “Far too many people are confusing facts and commentary. People need to take more personal responsibility to understand the difference, while some of it is a personal choice to follow a slant because it corroborates one’s own beliefs.

“That all said, it depends on a person’s job. If you’re a news reporter, you may end up diving into a story that you’re passionate about because you feel connected to it or it mirrors an experience you had. But it’s your job to tell the story accurately without making yourself the center.”

And that’s the key. His experience to a story may not be everyone’s. He’s certainly not the center of the story, but telling his truth enhances the report and allows people to think for themselves and maybe develop empathy and understanding for someone in a situation vastly different than their own.

Some may deny what he says, and others may have their eyes opened by it. Just stay away from the Twitter mentions.

In a world of around-the-clock news and headlines, if a local news radio host can relate, and is open to offering up their experiences to compliment a story, it’s going to captivate more audiences than just script reading.

The Daily Podcast from The New York Times doesn’t just read the headlines, they talk to experts who live and study the subject matter.

In a simpler form, what if Haverford didn’t actually eat and experience the nachos he talked about on his podcast, do you think the fictional characters of Pawnee would have listened?

News Radio

The Bumper Song for Rush Limbaugh Will Be Retired

Clay Travis and Buck Sexton told their audience Thursday that the rights to Rush’s iconic bumper music “My City was Gone” are set to expire.

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It’s official. The final piece of Rush Limbaugh on syndicated radio will be retired soon. Clay Travis and Buck Sexton told their audience Thursday that the rights to Rush’s iconic bumper music “My City was Gone” are set to expire. 

Limbaugh popularized the song performed by The Pretenders using it as a bumper song which then became synonymous with his overall brand. 

“For decades, Rush’s theme song has reminded everyone about their truth and clarity are on the way,” Travis said. “It’s an iconic song forever that’s going to be attached to Rush Limbaugh and everything that he represented.”

With the one-year anniversary of the “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” approaching, the duo spent time reflecting on the show’s inception and the indelible mark that Limbaugh left on millions of Americans.  

“And for us, this is really like retiring the jersey in sports,” said Sexton. “Because Rush’s theme song is forever attached to his memory, everything he built, and we deeply honor that, his legacy. And that song is a part of his legacy, of course.” 

Clay & Buck’s new theme song is “My Own Worst Enemy.”

“These guys moved to Tennessee from California because they were so frustrated with the direction that California politics had gone (laughing), and they are going to be longtime listeners of this show,” Travis said.  

“They loved Rush. And when we had this conversation with them, Buck, I mean you should have seen their faces and how excited they were to be able to bring their music to this audience and connect their brand and their spirit with the spirit and brand of the greatest radio show audience that has ever existed in American history,” he added. 

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News Radio

WOLB’s Larry Young Recovering After Having His Leg Amputated

WOLB’s Larry Young has been off the air since April 10.

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A popular Baltimore radio host is recovering after having his leg amputated due to an allergy triggered by his Type 2 diabetes. According to the Baltimore Sun, WOLB’s Larry Young has been off the air since April 10.

“I knew I had a problem,” Young told the paper. “I didn’t know it was as severe as it was. When I got to the hospital, the doctors gave me two options: amputation or death. That is a terrible thing to hear.”

Young has been hosting the morning show on the Urban One-owned station for nearly three decades. He reportedly is planning to retire at the end of the year. 

“Larry is a wonderful person, and we all miss him terribly,” said WOLB GM Howard Mazer. “I’m sure all of our listeners are looking forward to his return.”

Young is no stranger to health scares. 18 years ago, he was rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart episode. Young said at the time, doctors gave him less than a 1% chance of surviving. 

“The word ‘no’ is not in Larry’s vocabulary,” Mazer said. “He will go out of his way to help someone, no matter what.

Former mayor Catherine Pugh will fill-in during Young’s absence. 

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News Radio

NPR Inks Three-Year Partnership with Take 1

Under the agreement, which started in January 2022, Take 1 is delivering NPR with exact, XML-based transcriptions for over 30 daily and weekly programs and limited series.

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NPR has announced a new partnership as the radio company reached a three deal with Take 1 which will transcribe its news, analysis, and podcast programming. 

Under the agreement, which started in January 2022, Take 1 is delivering NPR with exact, XML-based transcriptions for over 30 daily and weekly programs and limited series. Furthermore, the company will provide the stats with turnaround times varying from a few days to just a few hours.

“Almost all of my searches for transcribers show most U.S. providers cannot handle NPR’s high volume, high accuracy, and rush deadlines at an affordable price, and competitive businesses based abroad are unfamiliar with the intricacies of American-English accents, slang, idioms, and cultural references,” Laura Soto-Barra, NPR RAD chief (Research Archives & Data Strategy) said. 

“NPR poses an added challenge due to the many specialized subjects we cover, from world politics to science and medicine. Still additionally, the tech requirements and the format that allows the transcript to be ingested in the NPR systems present additional challenges not all companies can resolve. We’ve known the Take 1 team for many years, we’ve used their translation services in the past, and they were one of the very few I knew that could deliver against this brief.”

The multipurpose core of NPR’s transcripts signifies that accuracy and fast turnarounds are equally crucial to the company. In addition to being dispersed to NPR’s network of member stations, the transcriptions that Take 1 constructs are posted on the NPR website to make the content available.

“Almost all of my searches for transcribers show most U.S. providers cannot handle NPR’s high volume, high accuracy, and rush deadlines at an affordable price, and competitive businesses based abroad are unfamiliar with the intricacies of American-English accents, slang, idioms, and cultural references,” says Laura Soto-Barra, NPR RAD chief (Research Archives & Data Strategy). 

“NPR poses an added challenge due to the many specialized subjects we cover, from world politics to science and medicine. Still additionally, the tech requirements and the format that allows the transcript to be ingested in the NPR systems present additional challenges not all companies can resolve.” She continues, “We’ve known the Take 1 team for many years, we’ve used their translation services in the past, and they were one of the very few I knew that could deliver against this brief.”

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