Inside NPR

I first became interested in radio when I listened to National Public Radio (NPR) with my dad when I was younger. Since then, I have been involved in making podcasts as well as writing for school and local newspapers. I have always loved talking to people and meeting new people, so I was excited when given the opportunity to go to CT Public Radio (WNPR) in Hartford to complete my mastery credit requirement with a lot of help from my mentor, Ms. Callahan. Ms. Callahan connected me to her friends that work there. I met Ms. Catie Talarski, Senior Director of Storytelling and Programming at WNPR. Catie was very kind to allow me to observe, and she taught me about the production of a live radio show for a day. I was able to see how a show is hosted and how a podcast is produced. The day I went, Lily Tyson was producing the “The Colin McEnroe Show.”

As a producer, Ms. Talarski has a check list of all things she has to do before the show starts to make sure she doesn’t miss anything. Even before the show started, Catie had to promote the upcoming show on all social media platforms and post an announcement on the Connecticut Public Radio website. Catie checked the audio clips that would be used on the show and added background music for the starting and ending segments of the show. Catie also followed up with the guests who were to appear on the radio show making sure they were still coming. When the show went live, she used a shared Google doc that the show’s host, Colin McEnroe was able to read while on air which contained more information while talking to guests. Catie used the Google doc to also show Colin live comments that listeners were writing on social media. This allowed listeners to communicate with Colin during the live show while he continued to focus on listening to the in-studio guest he was speaking to.

After listening to the live radio show, I was very impressed at the speed Colin conducted himself without making mistakes on live radio. He improvised while using few resources at the time of the show. He articulated himself very well when improvising. Luckily, I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions after the show. I asked him what he thought about the change in today’s media and what he thought about the future of live radio. He told me that he thought that pre-recorded media will take over, but live radio won’t go away. He explained that he believes that his followers like the idea that he can’t remove anything he says on air. He added that it gives a true authenticity and responsibility to him as a host. It was interesting to hear that people enjoy the sense of honesty in the fact that there is pressure, but that there is also definitely a burden placed on Colin when he conducts interviews. Colin also mentioned that live radio can communicate with listeners in a way that other media cannot. The listeners can interact with Colin while they listen to him at the same moment. 

I am beyond thankful for the opportunity that Ms. Callahan, Ms. Talarski, and Ms. Tyson created for me. I am grateful to Ms. Talarski  for giving up her time to allow me to shadow her — showing me the job of a broadcast editor and how radio shows are produced. Everyone at Connecticut Public Radio was very friendly and helpful and I would gladly go back again if given the chance. This experience has shown me what a real application of a broadcast journalism education could provide for me in the future.