Online: No more talking heads

  • Jennifer Napier-Pearce interviewing Darin Vincent about local media for a podcast later this month

    Mary-Margaret Pingree

Note: This article is a sidebar to one of this issue's feature stories, "Radio: Spice for the ears," in a special issue about community media in the West.

Jennifer Napier-Pearce, who runs the Salt Lake City-based podcast Inside Utah, calls audio recordings "the theatre of the mind." Combine that with the "magic of the Internet, Google and iTunes" — which allow you to search for content, then listen to whatever strikes your fancy — and it’s "TiVo for your radio," she says.

Each week, 800 to 1,000 people download Napier-Pearce’s 30-minute podcasts about what’s up in the Beehive State. "That’s pretty good," she says, "but it’s not NASA." Then again, NASA, which averages 327 million Web "hits" weekly, has a $16 billion annual budget, while Napier-Pearce, a former news director at public radio station KCPW and self-described middle-aged mother of two, pays for Inside Utah out of her own pocket.

"I wanted to do a show with more time to do interviews, to get different voices," she says. "In the traditional media, we tend to talk to the same people." She still relies on her old rolodex, full of tried and true sources, but now she has the time to hit the streets, seeking new sources with different perspectives: "I try to keep my eyes open, in my neighborhood, in Salt Lake, and a lot of people come to me (with story ideas)," she says. "Grassroots is where you get your good ideas." Her stories roam from tax policy, to the Mormon Church, to a father-son team of bicyclists competing in the Tour of Utah.

Podcasting is the future of radio, she says. And anyone can do it. "You don’t have to be a rocket scientist — you can put it out there and see what happens."

Laura Paskus is HCN’s Southwest Correspondent.

Get the Beehive State buzz at, or e-mail Jennifer Napier-Pearce at [email protected]

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