Posted by Adam Warner
on Feb 13, 2012 in Audios
| Comments Off on Radio Program Comparisons; NPR, BBC, WINS, and Fox News for 2.13.2012
Here are some similarities and differences I observed between four radio programs on Monday, Feb. 13. NPR Morning Edition: The most formal and cerebral of the four broadcasts, NPR’s Morning Edition played out as smooth and very well edited. It was relaxing to listen to and covered a wide variety of topics. Stories included: Massachusetts’ RomneyCare, Catholics and contraception, the increase of fiber in foods, how Girl Scout cookies contribute to deforestation, the Greek protests, winter storms in Europe, Brad Pitt’s Oscar-nominated role, bird flu research, and an iPod controversy in China, among other things. Everything from health and science to arts, theater, and music were covered, as was world politics. Stories that are more obscure and might be less popular with the general public, like a piece about Downtown Abbey, were looked at as well. In general, the pacing was much slower and the actualities a lot longer than on WINS or Fox News. Morning Edition was most similar to BBC News Hour, but was still a lot less newsy and hard-pressing in its approach. Although there were a lot of statistics and percentages thrown around. The balance of narration to actualities was varied. Some stories were almost entirely clips, while others featured primarily the narrator. In the way that WINS constantly declares the local time, NPR has a habit of constantly announcing “This is NPR news,” which I assume is to catch listeners who are switching through stations. Overall, Morning Edition is very professional sounding. Narrators and reporters speak as though their coverage will be put into the Library of Congress as official go-to history. Despite all this, it never comes off as we’re-telling-you-this… it’s very conversational. The guests commentators, as well as the correspondents, tended to enforce this. They were allotted fairly long actualities/clips, making the whole program much smoother. The background music only heightened this; never over-whelming, but constantly resurfacing. The narrators picked up their speed as they went further and further along. The final piece, which was a fun bit about stashing money in offshore accounts, ran maybe a minute long. Whereas the first story, which was about healthcare in Massachusetts was easily over five minutes. BBC News Hour: BBC News Hour feels like a cross between NPR and WINS-type local news. It’s well-executed and features an array of experts and on-scene correspondents, but tends to be more newsy and less programmy. Nevertheless, it takes itself seriously and projects itself as the be-all-end-all of accurate, solid news. It’s very formal, but still gives way to intonation that feels a little bit in-your-face (possibly a British cultural thing). The formality reaches its height at the very beginning, when the announcer says the exact time the program is being recorded, down to the second. Unlike NPR, the BBC features an overview of some of its stories at the beginning. And, despite the overall seriousness and verbosity of the broadcast, stories are pushed along in a very fast-paced way – sometimes the announcer begins to ask another question before the interviewee has even finished. In this way, it is much more affronting than NPR, which always seems to have an air of monotone coolness. Despite this, I found myself getting lost more while listening to the BBC than NPR, which always seems to hold my attention. Also, while NPR is heavy on using music as a bed, BBC is heavy on nat. sound, throwing it in often. At one point, a Jeep engine was started as a...