New NPR Morning Show...

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Targeted at younger listeners (which for NPR means 25-44). Sounds interesting, though there are few details

NPR's press release

LA Times piece (behind a reg. wall, so I'm reprinting it:
NPR is planning a new news show
Lee Margulies
January 4, 2007

Encouraged by the growth of its weekday news program "Morning Edition," National Public Radio said Wednesday that it was developing a new news and information program to compete with … "Morning Edition." The new morning show, as yet untitled, will be aimed at people in the 25-to-44 age bracket. NPR already is testing ideas and plans to roll out the program on some stations in September.

" 'Morning Edition' is a tremendous success and a daily priority for millions of Americans, but one size doesn't fit all when it comes to news and information," NPR Chief Executive Ken Stern said. "The 25-to-44 age group is underserved by the media and seeking smart, thoughtful content relevant to their lives."

The program is intended not only for public radio stations that don't presently carry "Morning Edition" but also at those that do: They will be able to run it on digital channels and their websites. It will also be available on satellite radio.

Here's the letter from NPR honcho Ken Stern:

From: Ken Stern
Date: January 3, 2007
Let me take this opportunity to wish you, your colleagues and your families a happy and healthy 2007.
A brand new year seems an appropriate point to announce a new enterprise for NPR: one that breaks the boundaries of our comfort zone and demands risk-taking, but also has the potential to significantly expand our audience and our public service to stations and communities across the country. Today, I’m pleased to announce that NPR will launch a news and information service, focused on listeners between the ages of 25-44. Its core will be a two-hour morning drive time program, to air 7:00-9:00AM, but its reach will extend throughout all media platforms, serving this younger audience in the many places they seek and use news.

Forty years ago this November, the Public Broadcasting Act was signed and included a call for “the development of programming that involves creative risks and that addresses the needs of unserved and underserved audiences.” This commitment speaks to that priority. During New Realities, we all discussed at great length the need to bring public radio into the lives of the next generation - to fulfill our public service mission and secure the survival of the public radio system in a media environment characterized by almost unlimited choice. We believe that there is an opportunity to take a leadership role in serving the educated, curious younger adult audience searching for smart, thoughtful news and information.

While NPR and our public radio colleagues have always offered programming that is recognized as important and meaningful, we know one size cannot fit all. To better connect with younger listeners, we must speak to them with relevant content: with hosts, reporters, topics and production mirroring their priorities, interests, lifestyles, issues, values and media choices. This new service will embrace a different tone - more conversational, more casual, more humorous - but it will be rooted in the essential values of careful, in-depth journalism and civil discourse that has always characterized NPR and public radio.

This concept will be introduced in March on NPR Rough Cuts, the “open piloting” model housed on NPR.org that we rolled out last month to test-drive content ideas. (An A-Reps explaining how Rough Cuts works was sent December 22.) The two-hour morning program will launch in September for stations to broadcast on their primary signals and on HD Radio multicast channels. It will also launch simultaneously on satellite radio, with podcast elements and in online offerings for station websites and for NPR.org. Like all new content at NPR, it will be multimedia in scope, spanning audio, video and text, but with radio at its heart and core.

Overseeing the development of this service will be Matt Martinez, familiar to many of you as a producer for All Things Considered and, more recently Weekend Edition Saturday. Matt was also formerly a producer at member station KNAU-FM Flagstaff. We are currently hiring staff, including two hosts, who will be based at the NPR New York Bureau. We are actively developing the service’s focus, sound and approach and will count on feedback from stations and the public, through NPR Rough Cuts, to play a key role in this process. And this service will embrace all types of digital media from the start, with the program acting as a launch pad for a variety of original content across platforms. One such element will be the creation of an online community - something this audience seeks and expects - to generate interactivity, feedback and public dialogue.

We will be sharing updates on this project in the coming weeks, and we encourage your questions, ideas and involvement.