Why I Left NPR
For the last few years I covered technology for NPR and Planet Money.
My job gave me free rein to call up some of the smartest, most creative people on the planet. More often than not they called me back.
Many of these people spent hours and hours explaining their work to me, answering endless questions. Some became friends.
I told their stories and millions of people listened.
It is a dream job.
And I just quit.
This is why.
Public radio is in danger. And no, the biggest threat is not that Republicans in Congress will cut its funding. (Although that could happen too.)
The biggest threat to NPR — and the 900+ member stations that are the life-blood of the public radio system — is that this big beautiful crazy system may not get its act together to make the jump into the digital age. I want to help.
People, and not just millennials, are changing how we listen. We are all listening to stories differently than we once did.
And so far no one has built the kick-ass digital radio that I want.
The digital radio I want would make it easier to support great work. It would help public radio break out of the white, upper-middle class suburb it has created for itself. It would be personalized. It would be global. It would be social and ubiquitous. It would let the audience talk back. My ideal digital radio, it would listen to the audience.
I quit my job to build that, a new kind of radio. Something better.