On the Media

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On the Media
Other names OTM
Genre News (media analysis)
Running time ca. 50 min.
Country United States
Language(s) English
Home station WNYC
Syndicates NPR, WNYC
Host(s) Brooke Gladstone
Bob Garfield
Editor(s) Brooke Gladstone
Producer(s) Katya Rogers
Sarah Abdurrahman
Exec. producer(s) Ellen Horn
Recording studio New York City
Air dates since 1995
Audio format Stereophonic
Opening theme Ben Allison, composer
Website www.onthemedia.org
Podcast Podcast

On the Media (OTM) is an hour-long weekly radio program, hosted by Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone, covering journalism, technology, and First Amendment issues. It is produced by WNYC in New York City. OTM is first broadcast on Friday evening over WNYC's FM service, and syndicated nationwide to over 300 other public radio outlets. The program is available by audio stream, MP3 download, and podcast.[1] OTM also keeps a blog that features short articles about media-related topics as well as "Staff Picks" of noteworthy books, films, articles, videos or other media.[2]


As defined by co-host Garfield, On the Media covers "…anything that reaches a large audience—either electronically or otherwise…. Plus, throw into that anything that covers First Amendment issues; anything that has to do with freedom of speech, privacy, is also in our portfolio."[3] The show explores how the media are changing, and their effects on America and the world. Many stories are centered on events of the previous week and how they were covered in the news. These often consist of interviews with reporters about the dilemmas they face in covering controversial issues.

Stories regularly cover such subjects as the use of video news releases, net neutrality, digital broadcast flags, media consolidation, censorship, freedom of the press, the influence of 24-hour cable news television coverage, media oppression, and how the media are changing with technology.

The show also addresses questions about how the media is influenced or spun by politicians, corporations, and interest groups with the intent to shape public opinion. This includes an OTM feature that covers the media's use of terminologies that may engender biased points of view, and the use of hot-button issues and code words such as Michael Moore, torture, evangelical, and islamofascist.[4]


On the Media began in 1995 on WNYC as a local call-in show, hosted by Alex Jones. In 1997 the show went national in a magazine-style format, hosted by WNYC host Brian Lehrer. During this period, this show was hampered by Lehrer being stretched thin due to commitments from his own daily show, inexperienced producers, and the lack of an editor. In late 2000, Gladstone was brought in by WNYC's director of programming to rethink and relaunch the show.[5][6]

The newly formatted OTM debuted in 2001, and since then has been one of NPR's fastest growing programs, with more than 300 public radio stations broadcasting the show weekly.[6][7]


On the Media won a 2004 Peabody Award for excellence.[8] The judges wrote that "On the Media reminds us that the messenger is always part of the message and must be examined as such."[9] In addition, the show has won Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting and investigative reporting,[citation needed] the National Press Club's Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism,[10] and the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism in both 2012[11] and 2013.[12]


  1. Friess, Steve (April 5, 2006). "Podcasting Roils NPR Fund Raising". Wired News. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Full episode podcasts began in August 2005.
  2. On the Media blog
  3. Thorn, Jesse. "On the Media Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield: Interview on The Sound of Young America". (April 13, 2009).
  4. Mike Pesca, editor. Word Watch (Audio). On the Media. Archived from the original (.MP3) on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2007-03-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Brooke Gladstone," The Transom Review vol. 4, issue #1 (March 1, 2004).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Phillips, Lisa A. (2006), Public Radio: Behind the Voices, New York: CDS Books, pp. 209–222, ISBN 1-59315-143-8, retrieved September 27, 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "About On the Media," On The Media website. Accessed Dec. 14, 2011.
  8. 64th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2005.
  9. "NPR Wins Peabody Award for Iraq Reporting" (Press release). April 9, 2005. Retrieved March 9, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "WNYC AWARDS REPORT, 2004—2005," WNYC website. Accessed Sept. 26, 2010.
  11. Bart Richards Award honors 'On the Media' Penn State University website. Accessed April 6, 2012.
  12. 'On the Media' repeats as Bart Richards Award winner. Accessed April 13, 2013.

External links