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The risks of pre-recorded news on Colorado Public Radio

Listened to

Colorado Public Radio

on the drive to the office this morning, and at around 6:20 a.m., immediately after a lengthy report about President Barack Obama's five talk-show appearances yesterday, accompanied by analysis from Cokie "No Relation" Roberts, CPR's Mike Lamp popped up to tease... a story about Obama's five talk-show appearances yesterday.

No mystery about how something like this happens. As CPR boss Max Wycisk explained in "Going Public," our 2002 feature article about CPR, even hourly updates on the news channel are read into a computer prior to airing. In Wycisk's view, the procedure improves quality control: "Over the years, I've learned that one of the things people value about public radio is that the programming is distilled," he said at the time. "If you get a chance to edit it, you increase your ability to make sure that what you're saying is absolutely clear."

Of course, there's also the prospect a snippet might be aired at the wrong time -- and while this particular mistake was minor, it sends a message to listeners that the news heard on CPR almost always arrives in delayed fashion.

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