Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 8:05pm
NPR has long set the pace in radio in this country when it comes to adapting to the new media landscape. Interestingly, in a new Wall Street Journal interview, NPR CEO Gary Knell characterized NPR's online content efforts as trying to be "a Pandora for news."
NPR's website and apps brim with on-demand news, music, photos, and other features. Knell told the paper the idea is "to allow listeners to customize a playlist, available through the cloud, live. We want to have serendipitous listening, not knowing what the next story is..."
Knell verified that that NPR's efforts in digital media have been effective in bringing new, younger listeners into the fold -- as some figures show commercial broadcast radio listening cratering among teens and young adults. While the average age of NPR's on-air listener is 53, that drops to 37 for iPhone listening. The average age of "NPR Music engagers" is 28, he said.
Without the on-demand options and other features enabled by new media technology, Knell fears, listening is lost.
"We're all over this, because if we don't do this we're not going to last," he admitted. NPR has to offer "the option of a la carte listening, or they will turn to other places."
Read interview excerpts in The Wall Street Journal here.