I hope you have been having a fine summer and have been able to take some time off to get away from this relentless news cycle, to a lake or the ocean or your favorite place to decompress. At On Point, we’ll take a week off from our live show production next week and what we have planned for that week we hope will be a much needed treat for your listeners. More on that later.
But first I want to share the news that On Point is now heard on more public radio stations than ever before. APM tells me that as of June 30th On Point was carried on 342 public radio stations. The last two digits seemed familiar. A quick check confirmed that since being recast as a single topic conversation, guided by Meghna Chakrabarti, over the course of one hour, back in October 2020, On Point has picked up an even 100 stations! We could not be more delighted nor honored. But that nice round number hasn’t lasted long, because by the time you read this, it will be 101 thanks to WUWM. After trying out various shows and soliciting feedback from its listeners, we’re honored that Milwaukee selected On Point for its weekday schedule. The depth we bring to each show was a signature element from the start — and as On Point has evolved from one driven by the daily news agenda, we have also worked to ensure a breadth of topics across the week. I was speaking recently with the editor in chief of a national publication who told me how much he loved the range of topics we cover. As he put it, “Things that interest you which are consequential.” And that pretty much sums it up. With just five topics or stories each week, we get to be choosy. It does have to interest us. It does have to be consequential. It does have to be something that we can advance over the course of an hour that other shows with different formats and cadences could not.
And that means we give a lot of thought to how On Point connects to the news cycle. Many stations don’t broadcast us live at 10 a.m. Eastern. It’s important that we are just as relevant to people who hear us at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. as we are to those who listen at 10 a.m. Our mantra is that On Point prioritizes being news relevant, over news reactive. Whether listeners have heard All Things Considered followed by Morning Edition, or Morning Edition followed by All Things Considered it’s important that we are distinctive and additive in our listeners’ lives, not repetitive. I’m looking forward to diving into this topic further at the upcoming Public Radio Content Conference in Philadelphia where I’ll be moderating a panel on how local talk shows define their editorial identity and relationship with the daily news cycle. Joining me on the panel will be WUNC Program Director, Terry Gildea, and Catie Talarski, Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public. If the prep call we had last week is anything to go by, it’ll be a fascinating conversation! And if you’re attending the Content Conference in person, I really hope you will also be able to join us at the On Point breakfast earlier the same day. Look out for an invite to that from APM. I hope to see you there!
And before I sign off, that much needed treat for your listeners when On Point takes a week off from live production next week is something we are calling On Point’s Week of Wonder. It’s a curation of five shows from the past year exploring and reveling in the wonder of the world we live in. From the transformational power of awe to the healing power of music. It might just be the audio tonic for our times.
Hope to see you in Philly!
Executive Producer, On Point