I have never listened to National Public Radio (NPR) before today, for this assignment. When I do listen to the radio, it’s generally music and not newscasts, but I have heard a few news stations on the radio before. I would say NPR is different from other radio new stations in the sense that they are very thorough. They had many different story segments, which were a few minutes long, and contained good reporting with sources. Typically, radio newscasts just regurgitate stories they got from other sources; NPR does their own original reporting, which is great.
I think NPR definitely has a traditional, conservative style to it, based off of the one “All Things Considered” segment I listened to. The newscasters sounded older in age, and I think the target audience is in general a bit older. Most of the stories discussed major global affairs – very important yet very serious topics. The only exception to this older target audience was a story about gonorrhea outbreaks, but even in that story, one of the newscasters made a comment implying it was no big surprise that young people don’t communicate with their partners about each other’s sexual history. That gave me the impression of an “us vs. them” situation, where the newscasters (and most of the listeners as well, probably) were identifying with an older crowd, and young people were depicted as an outgroup.
I think the story selection, as previously mentioned, was very good in terms of serious, important topics around the world. And again, I think that makes sense if they are targeting an older, mature audience that typically may be more interested in those things then people of a younger generation. I felt they could have had a little more variety, however. I personally found it a little dry. The majority of issues were political/economic, which tend to be intense topics. I would have liked to hear about more social news and a lighter story or two as well, but that’s just me.