THIS IS THE THIRD OF A FIVE-PART SERIES ABOUT THE NEED FOR MORE PUBLIC RADIO TALK & INTERVIEW PROGRAMS
Celeste Headlee is the Executive Producer and Host of On Second Thought (OST) from Georgia Public Radio (GPB), part of the new generation of public radio talk shows we are saluting this week. It airs weekdays from 9am to 10am [link] on GPB’s statewide network now including WRAS in Atlanta.
Live is important to Headlee and her team because of the in-the-moment urgency it brings. When live audio is captured it can be multi-versioned into podcasts plus digital and social media platforms.
“Live audio is heard on about 80% of the show,” Headlee said. “We consider the on-air folks the be human beings, like you and me. Occasional mistakes are allowed because they are real human moments.”
PROGRAM CLOCK REQUIRES PRECISE TIMING
Several of the out-state GPB stations use automation that requires a strict clock with “hard posts.” As you can see in the rundown template at right, OST has three major segments. There are typically five, and a minimum of three, topics per day.
The show has several reoccurring
features: Georgia Playlist, a Desert-Island-Disc segment where guest’s Georgia-oriented tunes are played; and, The Breakroom where a Friday panel of guests and insiders dissect the week’s news and listen to live music.
Cultural and arts topics are frequently included, but according to Headlee “They must have a news peg because the bottom line is that we are a news program.”
An example is OST’s recent coverage [link] of Savanna’s tribute to an Elvis Presley concert held in the city 60 years ago. “The anniversary and the opening of a related photo exhibit made it relevant, something happening new that our listeners might want to attend.”
Here is how GPB promoted it:
Sixty years ago, a pair of blue suede shoes touched down in Georgia. Savannah played host to Elvis Presley's first concert in that city in June 1956. The concert hall was packed with fans, mostly teenagers. One of those was 14-year-old Dee Sutlive, who is now covering the show for the Savannah Morning News.
Be there or be square.
SO FAR, SO GOOD
OST (as well as GPB’s Atlanta station) began less than two years. Both are evolving. For instance, OST currently has a larger staff – four people – that the entire Atlanta station’s newsroom.
Since then Atlanta station WRAS is gaining momentum and listeners. As we reported in last March [link], in Fall 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings WRAS was the fasted growing NPR News station in the nation.