Doane Student Media visited NPR on Wednesday to see their operation just before they went out to cover the inauguration.
National Public Radio is known for its excellent programming and news, but it appeared Wednesday, that not many of us college students knew NPR on a personal level. It was time for a crash course in the operations of NPR for us at the network’s headquarters in DC. Alan Stone, an NPR employee, provided the big show and tell tour of NPR. The headquarters is also the intake and distribution hub for a lot of NPR programs. We saw the facility where all of the audio sources terminate, or basically where all of the sound and news reports from other stations come in to a room filled with racks of equipment to record and monitor the audio. Next was research and development, where Stone demonstrated the latest in technology to get public programming to people in new ways. On display was a car dash with a radio with an LCD screen that displays both captioning and GPS images by using the same technology used in postcards to show multiple images. Finally, we got to see all of the NPR equipment that was being packaged up to be taken to the inauguration. It consisted of a few travel bags and dolly carts waiting to be loaded with remote reporting equipment with wires, microphones, mic stands, and headsets. The final step, Stone said, was to get it all loaded and checked by security before the Nation’s public radio network swings into action to cover yet another inauguration.