NPR, National Public Radio, a stalwart for boomers and older, is making a change to appeal Xers.
In select markets, they are launching “The Bryant Park Project.”
“We’re not trying to replace ‘Morning Edition,’ ” which is one of the nation’s top listened-to morning radio programs,” said Jay Kernis, NPR’s senior vice president for programming. “But we’re trying to create something that is less, as we describe it here, ‘hospital-cornered.’ When you listen to ‘All Things Considered’ or ‘Morning Edition,’ they are highly produced to such a degree that the sheets are pretty well pressed. Well, this (‘Bryant Park’) is a show where the sheets are kind of messy.”
The shows co-hosts will talk to each other, there will be plenty of music, bloggers will be treated as analysts. NPR knows their listeners should be interested in Iraq, global warming, the price of oil, but this show challenges analysts to “make me care” about the issue being discussed.
Guests get treated differently on “Bryant Park.” When GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stopped by, co-host Luke Burbank challenged him to a pingpong match and posted video of the drubbing that Huckabee gave him on the show’s Web site. When a transgender city official from Florida felt that she was disrespected on the show this week, they posted her critical e-mail on the show’s blog. The show is trying to book that most un-NPR of guests, Pamela Anderson’s ex-hubby Kid Rock.
In trying to appeal to the 25-44 demographic, NPR created 29 episodes that were available online only. They asked listeners to help shape the show. Over 200,000 checked it out.
Thanks to the Kroc Foundation (the McDonald’s founder) NPR has been able to embrace the digital age, and have added 75 people to their newsroom.