For this week’s listening, I tuned into Tuesday morning’s Morning Edition and BBC Newshour and followed that up with almost an hour of 1010 WINS on Wednesday morning. I was surprised at a few key differences between BBC and NPR, but I’m already pretty familiar with 1010 WINS’ format.
In 22 minutes, 1010 WINS promises to give you the world, and so after listening to it for 40 mintutes, I found it pretty repetitive. I also don’t think I’d go as far as to say the world, unless you want to define the world as New York City, plus one other country that’s the most important news of the day. This morning, the biggest story of the hour was Jeremy Lin’s 17-point comeback for the Knicks, which was repeated as the main sports news each time it cycled. The news consisted of the story of the cop who was shot last night, but managed to kill his assailant in the shootout and speculation about whether Israel would attack Iran. All of the stories went quickly, and I think of the 22 minutes, probably only 7 or 8 were news, with sports taking up a solid 6 minutes, traffic and weather another 8, and then the balance filled in with commercials. I don’t mean to sound like I’m putting 1010 WINS down, they come in super-handy when I’m driving, especially on trips that are no longer than 22 minutes, but once you’ve listened to their cycle, unless something big breaks it’s pretty boring to listen to a second time.
Morning Edition had a nice flow to it. What stuck me was that each of the stories was around three minutes, and covered a pretty vast range of topics. NPR went into a much more nuanced analysis of the Israel-Iran conflict (it was big news on Tuesday too), but then also did a story on energy drinks. I found that kind of refreshing, because as much as I love hard news, it can be a real downer to listen to a whole hour of it, so peppering in the more feature-y stories makes it easier listening.
I was surprised by the BBC’s news hour. The whole hour was dedicated to just three stories – President Obama’s meeting with the new leader of China, research that proves that babies understand language earlier than we previously thought, and unrest in Bahrain. Really it was the two hard-hitting stories that got all of the attention, with the science story and a self-love minute about London lightening the hour. What struck me though, was that at the top of the hour the host teased the baby story, which came in the middle of the program and was definitely not the most important news of the hour. In the teaser, they used audio of a baby jabbering. When the piece started, it lead with that same audio, which I thought was interesting. First I thought it was annoyingly repetitive, and then I realized that it connected me to the beginning of the program, and assuming there was a commercial break before that story (god bless the internet for mostly removing commercials), it would have done a great job of pulling me back into the program – a recognition of a sound that I know they used in the context of the story. Sort of a “Hey! We’re back, start listening again!”
Of the three, I’d say I liked NPR the best, just because it covered the greatest range of news in an hour. The BBC got a little too talky with interviews and longer stories, and the speed of 1010 WINS makes it hard to keep up some times. The conversational three-minute pieces are what perk my ears.