NPR Wants To Be More Like Podcasting—Did They Think This Through?


So NPR wants its programs to be more like podcasts. Really?This is too good to be true. NPR wants its shows to sound more like podcasts. I’m sorry. It’s a holiday week, things are mellow and I like the sound of that idea.

Fade in on the All Things Considered theme. The theme runs for 5 seconds, then abruptly cuts off.

Siegel: (he sounds as if he’s speaking from the back of a large bus) Hi there everybody. I’m Bob Siegel. And with me is my partner, Audie Cornish. Hi, Audie.

Cornish: (she sounds as if she’s speaking from the back of the same bus) Hey, Bobby, what’s going on?

Siegel: Nothing. I had a quiet day today. You know, hanging out in the newsroom, watching a couple of videos. Did you know the video of us yesterday drawing pictures with Easy Cheese in a can went viral for a hour?

Cornish: Oh, that was a funny show. Episode 1,244.

Siegel: Yeah. 1,244. No, wait. I think it was 1,243. Today is 1,244.

Cornish: Are you sure?

Siegel: Check with our producer.

Cornish: We don’t have a producer anymore. Remember?

Siegel: Right.

Cornish: Too formal.

Siegel: This is better.

Cornish: Much better. I feel closer to our listeners. Like I’m one of them and not some Voice of God.

Siegel: I meant wearing my penny loafers and Ralph Lauren polo shirt. It used to be only on casual Fridays. But now, I mean this is Thursday and nobody’s come down on me for it.

Cornish: That’s amazing.

Siegel: Normally, by now, I’d have gotten a phone call…

Cornish: No. I mean I actually heard you say “come down on me” on the air.

Siegel and Cornish giggle nervously.

Seriously, NPR. If you want to go all in, I’ll swap you my garage for your North Capitol Street NE studios. Meanwhile, it’s Thanksgiving. You’ve set the standard for audio storytelling and production. Be thankful for all you have. And all you have accomplished.

Happy Thanksgiving.

(FOR THE RECORD: As students, Robert Siegel and I worked together, infrequently, at WKCR-FM, the legendary student-run radio station of Columbia University. He might remember me but after this post I’m sure he’ll never admit it.)


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