A little over five years ago, NPR cancelled it’s experimental show, The Bryant Park Project, after only ten months. They poured a lot of money into it, and it’s now considered a cautionary tale of what not to do with a big public radio show. I’m going to take a look at the show down the road because I think it’s fascinating. One of the staples of BPP was digging deeper into things happening online. Most of their listeners came to the show via the web, and they used the internet better than any other public radio show at the time, and perhaps since.
Taking the NPR news format and applying it to the internet didn’t always pan out. Look at the early beginnings of All Tech Considered, and you will see that NPR wasn’t prepared to cover the internet in any meaningful way several years after the BPP cancellation. The BPP group were renegades with their approach, and it had fairly mixed results.
Getting away from NPR, you should take a listen to TLDR, a podcast sprung from the public radio show On The Media, concentrating on internet issues worth exploring. Although there are only seven episodes so far, it’s one of the shows I look forward to seeing a new episode from. It’s wormed it’s way into my must listen list by being interesting but also picking it’s topics wisely.
What TLDR does so well is explore the consequences of things that happen online, and how they affect people. Their breakdown of the Silk Road story was fascinating, but the first few episodes were my favorite, focusing on the Pronunciation Book story and how a reporter got caught up and scammed in the story. It isn’t businesses and memes, but interesting things that happen behind them.
It’s short and sweet. You can tell they take a lot of pride in making it. It will fit nicely in to your commute. I would like to see it come out more often, but the quality makes it worth waiting for.
And if you didn’t know, TLDR stands for Too Long Didn’t Read. Fitting for a podcast.