NPR President: Podcasts can be the gateway to younger audiences

The President and Chief Executive of NPR Jarl Mohn was interviewed by Stephen Battaglio of the LA Times:

This is a real additive product. We’re seeing some very encouraging signs that younger people are coming into NPR that previously haven’t listened. They get excited about a podcast and then start listening. We hear versions of the same story – somebody listens to Invisibilia [a podcast series that explores human behavior] and we promote other podcasts heavily in it – some of which might be news. They might shift to the NPR Politics podcast or “The Hidden Brain” and know they can hear its host [science correspondent] Shankar Vedantam on “Morning Edition.”

On how to make podcasts appealing to younger audiences:

The mythology has been that if you want a younger audience it has to be faster paced. Pieces need to be shorter. They have to be exciting. They have to be super well produced. They can’t be about anything substantive. They have to be feature oriented and light.
“Serial” and a lot of podcasts have proven that that’s not the case. You can be thoughtful. You can have a great narrative. It doesn’t have to be overly produced. It actually can be a bit slow. The element that really matters is you have to have a great story. That’s why young people are coming to podcasts.

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