Media

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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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts