Ensconsed near the top of Apple’s podcast chart since February is a daily juggernaut "morning show." It is not, however, from a traditional broadcast source or a podcast aggregator. Rather, “The Daily” is from the New York Times, and is posted each day in time to be heard during the morning commute.
"The Daily" is a highly produced 20-minute show which looks at a few big stories in the news using the resources of the NY Times reporting staff. They use the phrase, "this is how the news should sound." The show's host is well regarded New York Times political reporter Michael Barbaro.
This week, NPR joined The New York Times with its own Monday-Friday morning podcast, “Up First.” The new podcast, available weekdays by 6am is a 10-minute conversation between NPR journalists getting listeners up to speed on two of the day’s top stories. Morning Edition Executive Producer Sarah Gilbert calls it a “hybrid of on-demand and live broadcast news” using segments from the 5am hour of Morning Edition.
NPR opted for the short 10-minute length based on listening patterns to its popular terrestrial show "Morning Edition" and its mobile app, NPR One.
NPR’s hope is to reach a younger audience, many who are current podcast listeners but may not be NPR broadcast listeners. Gilbert says, “we see this as a way to create the NPR loyalists of the future.”
It is always tough to review a show in its first few days. Everything new evolves. "Up First" is really interesting. In some ways it seems like a cross- promotional tool for the "Morning Edition" radio show, but at the same time, an entry point to invite their large, and more youthful, podcast-only following to sample NPR's news product.
We will see how it evolves.
NPR has aggressively developed a robust podcast platform. Its CEO, former commercial radio executive Jarl Mohn, talks often about the importance of innovation on all devices and platforms. This is clearly another step to make NPR content available beyond the transmitter.
Most certainly, "The Daily" and "Up First" will not be the only podcast content produced for the lucrative morning hours. Time.com, for one, has prepared a daily rundown of their top stories in podcast form for some time.
There will be more.
With linear radio, people tune-in to a show always in progress.
It is empowering for listeners to have content available for on-demand consumption at a time that fits busy personal morning schedules. It fits the larger arc of listener control and the pivot to smartphone listening.
Also significant, in these cases, the innovation comes from a newspaper experimenting and mastering content on multiple platforms and public radio pushing its own boundaries.
With podcasting on the rise, now a "morning show" need not come via transmitter.