Friday, January 23, 2009

National Public Radio: Jeff Cabiness

When the average age of your audience is 53, you know you have some work to do to remain relevant and thriving in the future, National Public Radio’s Jeff Cabiness told students Thursday.

NPR, an organization that produces and distributes radio content to 90 member stations, is working on brand recognition, particularly online and with younger audiences, Cabiness said.

The way the organization accomplishes this in the future will likely be through programs and resources online, Cabiness said. One option could be combining local and national content in podcasts, he said. Currently, 13 million podcasts are downloaded from NPR each month, Cabiness said.

NPR gains 50 percent of its budget from its members purchasing programs like “Talk of the Nation” or “Morning Edition.” Currently, NPR delays putting its shows online until after they’ve aired to not bypass its stations and lose half of its revenue source, Cabiness said. It has experimented with its first web-only program, “All Songs Considered.”

“It’s an old business model. It’s very tricky. And they’ve got a lot to do to straighten it out,” Cabiness said.

NPR’s labs are working on new technology and delivery platforms including developing HD-audio and caption technology to make radio accessible to the deaf, Cabiness said.

-Derek Casanovas and Jasmine Linabary

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