Taking a peek behind the NPR curtain.

I listen to National Public Radio a lot and I often marvel at how articulate everyone seems to be — not just the news reporters and interviewers, but the guests as well — and I’ve long suspected that there was some form of editing taking place to pull this feat off. As it turns out that’s exactly the case, but I didn’t realize just how much editing is done until I heard this segment from On The Media which describes how the editing is done and what some of the pitfalls of it could be. You can listen to the segment using the audio player below:

I think it’s pretty cool that NPR took the time to reveal that there’s some back room magic taking place to make such compelling radio as well as providing a means to embed the segment into your blog. It’s fascinating to get a look behind the scenes and reassuring to note that they are not trying to hide anything in how they do things.

5 thoughts on “Taking a peek behind the NPR curtain.

  1. Interesting. I always assumed that the guests were aware of some of the questions and had a chance to rehearse before hand.

    Editing does make sense though. To may ears, it’s seamless.

  2. I only listen to two radio stations, the local college’s NPR affiliated station and Blue Lake Public Radio (a Jazz, Classical, Opera station that also carries one or two of NPR’s news programs). I actually prefer Blue Lake because their announcers are more human, I’ve heard them mess up their lines (news announcements, day sponsors’ messages, special events) plenty of times. It actually makes me feel like I’m normal instead of thinking that everyone always says everything perfectly. Even the people on ‘reality’ tv get edited to look ‘tv’ perfect.

  3. This came as no surprize. I listen to NPR all the time. I am a news freak… I wish CNN and FOX news were more like NPR. Some of the silly shit they try to pass off on the pubic is a waste of time, money and effort. Hats off to NPR.

  4. Thanks Les; that was interesting.
    I listen to a lot of radio; hopefully I won’t remember the fake bits.

  5. I think its funny that they bothered with a segment like that, but I guess its necessary.  I trust NPR’s editing people.  I edit the Public Affairs broadcasts on my college station with the similar goal of keeping the broadcast honest by making sure no content that significantly affects the ideas presented in the broadcast are edited.  I wouldn’t trust any radio station that is substantially sponsored by big corporations.

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