National News

Big Sponsors May Find It Hard To Break Up With The NFL

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 12:59

Companies like Anheuser-Busch pay hundreds of millions to be identified with the NFL's aura. The last thing they want is to be associated with scandal, but it might be financially tough to walk away.

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'Black-ish' is a sitcom unafraid of big questions

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-23 12:43

“black-ish” is being hailed for bringing new ideas to the family sitcom landscape, but it's all very familiar for creator Kenya Barris.

“My wife is a doctor, we have five kids. We kind of came from humble beginnings and pulled ourselves up," Barris says. "[Then we] looked around at who our kids were, looked around at our friends’ kids, and kept having that same conversation over and over: We didn't really recognize the life that they were living compared to the life we were living."

That closely resembles the premise of "black-ish," which stars Anthony Anderson as a successful marketing executive who's worried his family — his four children, his wife (a doctor) and his father — have lost sight of their roots.

"Black-ish" also stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne. Larry Wilmore helped craft the first season before leaving for his own Comedy Central show.

Wilmore says he was on board as soon as he read the first page of the script. "black-ish" tackled race as a social issue, putting it at the center of the plot, not the sidebar.

"There was content on this show that I felt hadn't been on television in a long time," Wilmore says. "And the fact that he was so honest about race: It wasn’t a family that happened to be black.”

The show, which debuts Wednesday on ABC, has already drawn praise for the way it handles nuances of race, class and identity. TV critic Alan Sepinwall wrote that "black-ish" has a smart, defined point-of-view while still achieving the sitcom ideal of "mak[ing] the universal specific and the specific universal." NPR called it one of the fall's best new shows and the A.V. Club wrote that "Black-ish" refreshingly brings more perspectives and ideas to prime time, instead of just "'diversity' for diversity's sake."

For more on "black-ish," listen to Kai's conversation with Barris and Wilmore in the audio player above.

Nobelist Muhammad Yunus: Be A Go-Getter, Not A Job Getter

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 12:35

The founding father of "microcredit" is helping to judge a contest with maxidollars: the Clinton Global Initiative's Hult Prize, granting $1 million to a new business idea that'll help the poor.

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Move To Curb U.S. Corporate Tax Dodges Could Delay Reform

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 12:22

Business and consumer groups say Congress needs to reform taxes, but few expect change soon. In fact, Treasury's tweaks to tax law may diminish the political will to address broader tax reform.

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More Women Skip Prenatal Tests After Learning About Risks

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 12:08

Research suggests that women may not be getting the information they need to make informed decisions about prenatal genetic testing, particularly invasive tests that can harm the fetus.

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Even When Abortion Is Illegal, The Market May Sell Pills For Abortion

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 12:08

An ulcer drug is dramatically changing the face of back-alley abortions in developing countries and cutting the rate of maternal deaths. Misoprostol is widely available even where abortion is banned.

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Before You Take A Bite Of That Mushroom, Consider This

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 11:46

Guess what scientists found lurking inside a common-looking packet of supermarket porcini? Three entirely new species of fungi. That's what happens when you sequence the DNA of your dinner.

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Tungsten: just try and smash it

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-23 11:43

The BBC’s Justin Rowlatt has a series exploring the economy through the elements – yes, those elements.

So tungsten is not the most famous element on the table. But you do know it well.

"Tungsten has two incredibly useful properties," says Rowlatt.  "It's very dense and very strong."

Since tungsten is unlikely to break or smash, you probably use it to cut through hard things.

"The only substance harder than tungsten are diamonds," says Rowlatt.

Listen to the full conversation in the audio player above.

Tribune Publishing enters the viral marketing sphere

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-23 11:00

Tribune Publishing, newly-created this summer after the Tribune media conglomerate split its print and broadcast operations, has partnered with Contend, a viral video marketing company. 

The deal brings digital video savvy to Tribune Publishing’s four-year-old marketing operations, which has already been courting advertisers with a one-stop-shop approach. 

While many newspapers and other legacy print publications have been beefing up their digital marketing offerings—mostly through native ads, such as sponsored web articles—this appears to be the first time a newspaper chain has made a direct investment in a viral video company, one that is not only creating ad content for Tribune’s websites, but for other websites and social media portals as well.  

“Our digital marketing services are our fastest growing area. It has the most upside. It opens up a whole new client list,” says Bill Adee, executive vice president of digital for Tribune Publishing. “What we’re really doing is we’re focusing on a problem that a lot of businesses have, which is creating content. And at the beginning, it was focused on maybe more text-based needs.”

The investment in Contend, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, allows Tribune Publishing to broaden its portfolio to video content, such as an online video series for the supermarket chain Jewel-Osco, which was the first time Contend and Tribune Publishing partnered on a campaign. 

Something Fresh - Ep3 - Quincy from Contend on Vimeo.

The Jewel-Osco series did not run on Tribune’s website—signaling a shift in strategy in which the ads the newspaper giant creates internally do not necessarily have to be ads that run on its own properties. 

“We’re well-known story tellers, right…So why wouldn't we be very good on behalf of a brand telling a story? Completely separate departments. Completely. But at its core, that’s what we do,” Adee says. 

While marketing and news may be separate departments, newspapers are banking on audiences realizing that distinction. Adee says he doesn’t see a danger of an audience backlash, at least with the video content, because it is not disguised as news content. 

“It’s not 'Jewel presented by the Chicago Tribune.' It’s Jewel. There’s no mistaking where this video came from,” Adee says. 

Newspapers may be willing to take risks with sponsored online content, because digital advertising represents one of the few areas of revenue growth for the industry, says Ken Doctor, a media analyst who used to be an executive at the former Knight Ridder Newspaper Chain. 

“It’s a big industry trend. It’s one of the biggest that we’ve seen in several years. And we see it everywhere from at the top end—the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Hearst magazines—to… smaller papers across the country,” Doctor says. 

As newspapers are losing the big advertisers they used to rely upon, they’re turning to the tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in their markets. 

“So publishers are saying: 'We know media, we know how to tell stories with writing and now with video, and we can also help them with social media.' So they are completely reorienting their sales approach away from just selling space to helping these merchants bring in new customers and retain the current customers they have. So, it’s really been a revolution in marketing, and we’re in about the third year of it at this point,” Doctor says. 

For Tribune Publishing, that revolution is necessary. Its digital ad sales accounted for 18 percent of all its ad revenue. And digital ads are one of the few areas of growth for newspapers, Doctor says. 

Contend CEO Steven Amato says while his company is part of the new media world, there are advantages to partnering with a newspaper chain that has established highly-recognizable brands in many cities. 

“Tribune is sitting on an amazing bunch of assets… and they have such deep relationships in local markets. That’s an unbelievable asset. They are part of [their communities]… that is not something you get everyday,” Amato says. “It’s a 167-year-old startup right now, Tribune Publishing. It’s very exciting.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of Tribune Publishing in the headline and when the partnership was announced. The text has been corrected.

The Tribune Company enters the viral marketing sphere

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-23 11:00

Tribune Publishing, newly-created this summer after the Tribune media conglomerate split its print and broadcast operations, this week announced a partnership with Contend, a viral video marketing company. 

The deal brings digital video savvy to Tribune Publishing’s four-year-old marketing operations, which has already been courting advertisers with a one-stop-shop approach. 

While many newspapers and other legacy print publications have been beefing up their digital marketing offerings—mostly through native ads, such as sponsored web articles—this appears to be the first time a newspaper chain has made a direct investment in a viral video company, one that is not only creating ad content for Tribune’s websites, but for other websites and social media portals as well.  

“Our digital marketing services are our fastest growing area. It has the most upside. It opens up a whole new client list,” says Bill Adee, executive vice president of digital for Tribune Publishing. “What we’re really doing is we’re focusing on a problem that a lot of businesses have, which is creating content. And at the beginning, it was focused on maybe more text-based needs.”

The investment in Contend, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, allows Tribune Publishing to broaden its portfolio to video content, such as an online video series for the supermarket chain Jewel-Osco, which was the first time Contend and Tribune Publishing partnered on a campaign. 

Something Fresh - Ep3 - Quincy from Contend on Vimeo.

The Jewel-Osco series did not run on Tribune’s website—signaling a shift in strategy in which the ads the newspaper giant creates internally do not necessarily have to be ads that run on its own properties. 

“We’re well-known story tellers, right…So why wouldn't we be very good on behalf of a brand telling a story? Completely separate departments. Completely. But at its core, that’s what we do,” Adee says. 

While marketing and news may be separate departments, newspapers are banking on audiences realizing that distinction. Adee says he doesn’t see a danger of an audience backlash, at least with the video content, because it is not disguised as news content. 

“It’s not 'Jewel presented by the Chicago Tribune.' It’s Jewel. There’s no mistaking where this video came from,” Adee says. 

Newspapers may be willing to take risks with sponsored online content, because digital advertising represents one of the few areas of revenue growth for the industry, says Ken Doctor, a media analyst who used to be an executive at the former Knight Ridder Newspaper Chain. 

“It’s a big industry trend. It’s one of the biggest that we’ve seen in several years. And we see it everywhere from at the top end—the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Hearst magazines—to… smaller papers across the country,” Doctor says. 

As newspapers are losing the big advertisers they used to rely upon, they’re turning to the tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in their markets. 

“So publishers are saying: 'We know media, we know how to tell stories with writing and now with video, and we can also help them with social media.' So they are completely reorienting their sales approach away from just selling space to helping these merchants bring in new customers and retain the current customers they have. So, it’s really been a revolution in marketing, and we’re in about the third year of it at this point,” Doctor says. 

For Tribune Publishing, that revolution is necessary. Its digital ad sales accounted for 18 percent of all its ad revenue. And digital ads are one of the few areas of growth for newspapers, Doctor says. 

Contend CEO Steven Amato says while his company is part of the new media world, there are advantages to partnering with a newspaper chain that has established highly-recognizable brands in many cities. 

“Tribune is sitting on an amazing bunch of assets… and they have such deep relationships in local markets. That’s an unbelievable asset. They are part of [their communities]… that is not something you get everyday,” Amato says. “It’s a 167-year-old startup right now, Tribune Publishing. It’s very exciting.”

Al-Qaida's Khorasan Group Led By Hard-Core Fighters

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 10:45

The group, which was targeted by U.S. airstrikes in Syria last night, has been on the U.S. radar for a while. Intelligence officials say they have tracked its individual members for years.

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Meet The Global Groups That Alicia Keys Got Naked For

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 10:40

The Grammy-winning singer posed in the nude (in a G-rated way) to draw attention to a dozen charities. Here's a look at the goals of the global players — and what they'd do if money were no object.

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Insurers Cautious As Proton Beam Cancer Therapy Gains Popularity

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 10:09

Supporters of the controversial, high-priced treatment say routine coverage would help propel research that would support its use. Skeptics say that approach is backward.

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Obama Emphasizes Coalition In Comments On Syrian Strikes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 09:16

President Obama spoke about airstrikes in Syria on Tuesday morning, moments before he left for New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

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Obama Calls For More Ambitious Approach To Climate Change In U.N. Speech

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 09:03

"There is such a thing as being too late," President Obama says in his address to the U.N. Climate Summit. The White House is touting tools to boost "global resilience" in the face of climate change.

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Rosh Hashana's Sacred Bread Offers Meaning In Many Shapes And Sizes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 08:54

Making challah for the Jewish New Year lets the baker take a moment to reflect on life's blessings. The bread can be shaped into the traditional round, or a lion or bird to echo Bible verses.

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To Make Interval Training Less Painful, Add Tunes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 08:39

Alternating rest periods with bouts of really intense exercise may make you fitter, but it's not a breeze. Researchers say music can make intervals less wretched and also make you work harder.

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Stoutaccino? Starbucks Tests Coffee With Beer Flavors

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 08:28

Reports that Starbucks is testing a new coffee drink for autumn that incorporates "toasty stout flavors" has set off a debate over how such a concoction might taste, and whether it's a good idea.

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More Americans Favor Mixing Religion And Politics, Survey Says

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 07:36

The poll by Pew's Religion & Public Life Project also shows that three-quarters of survey participants believe religion's influence on American life is waning.

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