Podcasts and a PD for MPR News

There’s a new boss in charge of programming for Minnesota Public Radio News.

Deets are in this press release from the MPR communications department.

MPR News today is pleased to announce a new addition to its leadership team and new audio programs for its audiences. Jonathan Blakley, formerly of NPR, will join the newsroom as its new program director, beginning next week. He will oversee radio programming and audio content development within the newsroom. Part of his new portfolio will include a variety of new podcasts that will showcase new voices discussing a range of topics.

“Jonathan’s radio roots run deep. He tells wonderful stories about growing up in a Detroit house with different radio shows resonating throughout,” said Chris Worthington, managing director of MPR News. “We welcome his passion for radio and his breadth of news reporting experience to our newsroom.”

After graduating from Western Michigan University, Blakley helped launch all-news WKZO Radio in Kalamazoo and also worked at Detroit’s WWJ CBS Radio before embarking on a global career. At NPR, Blakley worked as a producer/editor overseeing its Baghdad bureau operations during the war. He has produced stories from the Philippines, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti. Blakley also has followed an academic path at Harvard where he was a Nieman Fellow, primarily studying the Middle East and social media at the Kennedy School of Government.

“I am extraordinarily excited and honored to become part of the award-winning MPR News newsroom. It’s one of the brightest gems in public radio, and I get to return to my native Midwest,” Blakley said. “One of my first childhood memories is my father giving me a hand-sized, nine-volt battery-powered transistor radio that I listened to under my pillow every night. I look forward to guiding MPR News to a new and diverse generation of loyal listeners. Whether they tune us in via transistor radio or the next fancy mobile device, our audiences statewide will get the important reporting and thoughtful analysis they depend on and surely deserve.”
New podcasts will be part of that new and diverse generation. Geared towards a mobile listening audience, the shows are hosted by a collection of Minnesotans who represent the voices, perspectives and interests of MPR News audiences. Podcast offerings include shows on biking, culture and health, along with diverse views of the news and life.

“We know more than 50 percent of our listeners find us on mobile devices and don’t always make an appointment with their radio. We also know that there’s passionate interest in these topics,” Worthington said. “We believe podcasts will be a great way to connect with these communities, bring their voices to the forefront and to experiment with how we develop content or tell stories.”

The six new podcasts are:

Counter Stories – A weekly conversation on life and the news in Minnesota, from the perspective of members of the state’s communities of color. The show will feature regular panelists Don Eubanks, assistant professor of Social Work at Metro State University and member of Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe; Luz Frias with the Minneapolis Foundation; Anthony Galloway, West Metro learning specialist, and Hlee Lee, a Hmong creative professional.

Pedal Hub – A weekly discussion devoted to biking and biking enthusiasts in the Twin Cities. Featuring Gene Oberpriller, owner of One on One Bike Studio in Minneapolis; Amber Dallman, physical activity coordinator for the State Health Department and spokeswoman for St. Paul Women on Bikes; and Patrick Stephenson, founder of 30 Days of Biking and Star Tribune biking blogger.

Pop Till We Drop – Three 20-somethings take on our pop culture obsessed world, featuring University of Minnesota Radio K alums Tess Weinberg, Alex Gaterud and Shelby Thomason.

Minnesota Next – An interview series exploring Minnesota’s future from the point of view of people who will be living in it. It will be hosted by card-carrying millennial Maddy Mahon, an MPR News producer.

The Interpreters – A weekly podcast on culture, how we live, how we communicate with each other, what we value, traditions and trends. Regular panelists are writer and artist Andy Sturdevant; Molly Priesmeyer, writer and Star Tribune blogger; Ben Heywood, executive director of the Soap Factory in Minneapolis; and Saymoukda Vongsay, a playwright and poet.

Hallberg’s Picture of Health – Weekly conversations between MPR News medical commentator Dr. John Hallberg and All Things Considered host Tom Crann, exploring health, wellness, health care, and medicine.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    I first thought it said Jonathan Blake and I was like well that’s a turn no one saw coming.

  • John

    Welcome aboard Blakely.

    Now, don’t screw this up. They’ve got a good thing going here.

    unrelated: no Bob and Mary weekly podcast? It would be an acquired taste, but probably amazing.

    • The Bob and Mary podcast was pitched. It didn’t make the first cut.

      • John

        Management clearly has the wrong focus groups reviewing this stuff. (says the worst choice for a focus group member you could hope to find)

  • David

    I’m a sustaining member who hardly ever listens to the terrestrial radio. All podcasts here. I just discovered the (week)daily update one. Will look into these as well.
    I’d even take content built for broadcast in podcast form. Podcasts have to be pretty cheap when it is same content that you are pushing out over the air – something to think about MPR bosses.

    • David

      None of these are available yet to try out. Any news on when the publishing will begin?

      • They’re available now. Use the MPR News app and find the one you want on the navigation on the left.

        • David

          I suppose that will be fine for now, but these won’t be in regular rotation unless they are in with the rest of my ‘casts… (I am able to find the show in my usual directory, except the shows do not have any episodes.)

      • Ali Lozoff

        All of these are available in iTunes with multiple episodes; you should be able to see them in your feed if you sign up for them there, but on the website (MPRNews.Org/Podcasts) you can see the full list of what each show has published to date. They’ve actually been in soft-launch for a few weeks so there are a couple of episodes of each podcast already available.

    • You can find links to all of the MPR News podcasts here.

  • Robert Moffitt

    Hmm. I know some of those podcast folk. They will be good additions.

  • Chris

    Podcasts have been around a long time. I’m curious what is behind the big push now, and it’s not just MPR doing it. I’m a sustainer who mostly listens to the radio on a radio.

  • tboom

    Speaking as a dinosaur, I’m a live radio guy, I really don’t enjoy searching for podcasts. But I guess you’re going to drag me kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

    BTW, I caught part of The Daily Circuit in my work truck this morning. Thanks to whoever made the decision to take the Climate Cast to a full hour! It really adds depth to a subject that needs the time, the short version was such a tease it really wasn’t worth a listen.

  • BJ

    >the next fancy mobile device

    darn toot’n newfangled stuff only the whipper snappers understand

  • joetron2030

    I was looking forward to a podcast version of NewsCut.