What NPR One can teach us about radio intros

May 20, 2015

On May 14, Sara Sarasohn (NPR One’s Managing Director) and I held a webinar to share findings from a recent exercise. The NPR One team identified intros that performed well on the app (meaning, people skipped them less often). Then, Sara and I took a close look/listen, in search of patterns. We have both edited NPR newsmagazines (and Sara was also an Arts desk editor), so we leaned on that prior editorial experience to come up with our findings.

The conclusions about best practices for radio intros were striking. Here are highlights:

  • Short intros -- :22 or less – performed better than long intros.
  • Intros with simple, “grabby” first sentences kept people listening.

There are more conclusions, plus a lot of caveats! We laid them out – and explained how we used the data and our own judgment – in this document and in the webinar below. 

What NPR One can teach us about radio intros from NPR Digital Services on Vimeo.

(Please note: All of the intros we analyzed came from NPR newsmagazines.)