Too much news for your brain? Want to find out what's happening in the USA without being bombarded with alternative facts and figures? You Should Listen To Up First, From NPR
The way podcasting has evolved over the last 10 years has been really interesting. Part of this has been the emerging popularity of short-form podcasts, a quick story or update that you can listen to on your way to work, worlds away from the long form storytelling of S-Town or Radio Lab.
Up First is a 13 minutes long morning news digest released at 6 AM EST each weekday that consists of 2/3 American news stories, usually with an International story relevant to US. It’s relaxed but not casual attitude is designed to be listened to in the morning and it's use funky elevator music makes it sound like you’re in jazz bar, musing about current affairs.
I like it because it's a really easy and interesting listen, not in your face or over dramatic. The hosts; Rachel Martin, David Greene and Steve Inskeep sound like the presenting team from a breakfast news show…because they are. They also host NPR’s flagship news show Morning Edition.
One of the things that makes this an appealing listen is how long it is, there were talks about making it longer but they decided to keep it around 10 Minutes because of listning pattern data from the NPR One App and terrestrial radio.
The stereotypical NPR presentation style is thrown away, for something that feel like it belongs in 2017. No ‘robot like’ presenters anywhere to be found. The conversational style is accessible and lends itself well to the format, transitions between stories are clear but by no means clunky.
The production of the podcast is interesting in itself. The main morning news show from NPR Morning Edition goes on air at 5 AM. The Producers will take the first 10 minutes of that hour and cut it together with a new top and tail, ready for publication at 6AM. And in order to avoid double bunking on content, the 6AM hour of Morning Edition will start with different stories so listeners aren’t fed the same content twice.
So if you fancy a concise news-hug each day give it a try.