Watch Out America: Here Comes Here & Now

The locally produced show is getting a boost from NPR.

Here’s a bit of good news for those who like seeing a Boston media with national reach: National Public Radio is canceling Talk of the Nation and contributing its “editorial muscle” to the WBUR-produced Here & Now, which will expand from one to two hours to fill the gap starting July 1. Current host Robin Young will be joined by a co-host, Jeremy Hobson, currently with Marketplace Morning Report.

By offering its national reporting resources to the local show, NPR hopes that member stations in other regions will pick it up to fill the Talk of the Nation hole.

As we wrote in a the February magazine about WBUR’s other big hit show On Point, hosted by Tom Ashbrook, public radio is a place where perhaps 14 or 15 regionally produced shows vie for national pickup. Based on the press release, it sounds like the Washington-based NPR wants to give WBUR’s Here and Now a big leg up in that game:

NPR will contribute its editorial muscle to the expanded program. Here & Now‘s daily lineup will include interviews with NPR’s bloggers, reporters and editors. The program will also showcase selected reporting from other NPR News programs. The expanded Here & Now also will enhance NPR’s capacity to provide breaking news every weekday from 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET.

An NPR report adds:

Here and Now is on far fewer stations than Talk of the Nation — 182 versus 407 — but it has been growing. NPR executives hope stations that previously carried Talk of the Nation will pick up its replacement.

According to the New York Times, the move is motivated both by listener preferences and financial considerations. Talks amongst member stations showed that people wanted a midday news magazine in the style of Here & Now rather than a call-in show. And pooling NPR’s resources with a member station’s means sharing the financial burden of producing a show. “Look, it’s a tough media economy right now,” NPR’s chief content officer Kinsey Wilson says in the Times. “And I don’t know that anybody can afford to go it alone these days. Collectively, we have much better prospects working together.” Hey public radio’s struggle is, in this case, Boston journalism’s gain.