'Audio' Means Radio at 'Miami Herald' -- Via NPR Hookup

Article excerpt

While most newspapers are turning to Web sites as a place to provide audio, The Miami Herald has taken the old-fashioned route, via the local National Public Radio station. Since forging a partnership four years ago with nearby WLRN in which the Herald provides all of the station's local news, the paper has built up a prominent on-air organization that accounts for some 18 newscasts each day.

Boasting a full-time staff of five -- along with dozens of Herald staffers who regularly contribute -- Miami Herald Radio News operates completely out of the newspaper's building, which contains two radio studios. "It is another outlet for the Herald's content," says Michael Hibblen, the radio operation's editor. "There is such a big listening audience for the station. Only about half of the listeners subscribe to the paper."

The project, which started with just eight morning newscasts, is essentially a partnership between WLRN and the Herald, according to Rick Hirsch, managing editor/multimedia and new projects. He said the newspaper pays the salaries of the full-time radio staffers, but receives revenue from sponsorships for the newscasts.

What's more, the paper gets a lot of promotional value from the broadcasts. "We reach an audience of about 300,000 weekly," Hirsch claims, adding that the radio signal travels to South Florida counties where the Herald doesn't even circulate. "It is also doing serious news on the radio."

According to WLRN Manager Ted Eldredge, the newspaper and his station split all revenue from sponsorships related to the newscasts, which his staff primarily sells. "They have opened some doors for us," he says. "It has been a tremendous help. There is no way we could have set up our own news division right out of the gate."

The Herald's Hirsch says the newscasts account for more local radio news in Miami than anything else. …

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