Newscast expiration control, .WAV now accepted, and improved branding in NPR One

Jul 15, 2016

NPR One Newscast Expiration Options

We have learned from some of our station partners that the current 2 hour expiration for local newscasts can be tough to keep up with, especially for mid and small sized newsrooms. Starting on today, we now provide stations participating in the NPR One app the ability to choose their own newscast expiration.  The expiration options are 2, 4, or 6 hours, with the default set at 2 hours.  If you happen to upload more frequently than your set expiration time, the app will be smart enough to ensure the latest newscast surfaces in the app.  

Newscast options

Simplifying NPR One Newscast Requirements - WAV Accepted

We learned from our station partners that encoding newscasts file to .MP4 was adding additional complexity to existing station workflows.  To make it easier for stations, we removed this additional encoding requirement, and will now accept standard uncompressed .WAV files.

Starting on today, stations can provide an uncompressed file, and we take care of the rest!  The advantages of this new feature include:

  • Better audio quality: since WAV files are uncompressed, we’ll begin with a higher quality audio source, and adjust loudness levels, to be the same as the other programming content in the NPR One app
  • Seamless and consistent streaming: we will encode your WAV file to HLS (also known as HTTP Live Streaming) files, which are optimized to stream seamlessly in varying bandwidths.  

The Newscast URL field on the Station Edit page in StationConnect will now accept a WAV file, with the “WAV” extension, in addition to “.mp3” and “.mp4”. 

The recommended WAV file profile:

  • Codec: PCM
  • Channels: 2 (Stereo)
  • Bit depth: 16
  • Sampling Rate: 48 kHz
  • Extension: .wav

In order to participate, we ask that you contact nprone@ds.npr.org, so we can assist you in the set-up process and ensure your workflow.

Improvements to Station branding within NPR One

As part of our commitment to make NPR One a station and NPR cobranded experience, we convened an advisory group of stations to review visual branding in the app. The group conducted an inventory of NPR One and provided feedback during  a two meeting series in May. The group provided a number of recommendations which the NPR One team is in the process of implementing.

In accordance with the advisory group’s suggestions, the app will soon start migrating away from call letters, in favor of using station name and station logos as the prime way your station is identified. Ahead of this change, please make sure your organization name is listed in Station Connect in the “Station Org Name” field the way you want it to appear in the app. Additionally, the search function is being improved to allow for searching for organization name rather limiting searches to call letters or zip code. Another reason to make sure your “Station Org Name” is up to date in Station Connect.

The group also advised us to review audio branding in the app which the NPR Digital team will be tackling after completing changes to visual branding.