San Francisco NPR affiliate KQED-FM (88.5) is launching a regional news podcast March 6, with a style and format that will draw inspiration directly from the New York Times’ popular podcast “The Daily.” The new “The Bay” has already soft-launched with a debut episode that examines the Bay Area’s taxi industry.
“We’ve been wanting to experiment with short-form local news podcasts for a couple of years now,” said Holly Kernan, KQED VP of news, in a story published by The Current. After the station saw “The Daily’s” rise in popularity, “it became clear that there was interest in this sort of product,” she said.
While the New York Times podcast “The Daily” is making its network debut across public radio in April, KQED’s daily news podcast will cover issues specifically affecting the San Francisco Bay Area, adds Devin Katayama, host of “The Bay.” “We’re waking up each day saying, ‘OK, what’s the thing that people are going to want to talk about tomorrow?’ And then, ‘How do we have an interesting conversation about it or tell it in a way that is not like what we’re hearing either on KQED or through other news outlets?”
The first episode used a recent rule change that benefits San Francisco’s cab drivers as a starting point for examining how taxi companies have handled the emergence of ride-sharing services. Katayama interviewed KQED reporter Sam Harnett about his coverage of the subject and included audio from Harnett’s reporting.
KQED will release new episodes of “The Bay” Tuesday through Friday mornings, with each installment running five to 10 minutes. Katayama said the podcast will emulate “The Daily’s” approach of one interview per episode, with a focus on contextual analysis. In addition to featuring KQED reporters, “The Bay” may also interview reporters from other Bay Area media outlets and experts in subject areas.
KQED is reassigning Katayama and two other reporters, to work full-time on the podcast, according to The Current. Katayama previously co-hosted the KQED podcast “American Suburb,” which focused on people displaced by gentrification in the Bay Area. After that project, Katayama was asked what he wanted to work on next. He shared a long-term goal: When he started in public radio nine years ago, he aimed to host a “weekly news show where I discover something that’s happening in the news live” within 10 years, he said. The team started piloting episodes in January.
“My big thing at the beginning of this was, how do we actually add value and not just make something that we’re already making and then just put it out again on a different platform?” Katayama said.