Apr 11, 2012

Meet the guru behind "Fresh Air's" web success

WHYY's Fresh Air is one of the fastest-growing public-radio shows on the web, reports Nieman Lab. One major force behind that success is web producer Melody Joy Kramer, who has "slowly and single-handedly built a huge following by approaching the job as a digital native, a citizen of the community she wanted to reach. She figured out how to turn radio stories into conversations."

The show's Twitter account now has 70,000 followers, up from 3,800 before she arrived in January 2010 from Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!, where she was a writer and managed co-host Carl Kassel's Facebook page. Kramer also writes everything for the Fresh Air website: headlines, links, teasers, captions and interview highlights. Unique visitors to the site in January 2012 were up by 40 percent over the year before, growing twice as fast as NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, according to Sondra Russell, a senior digital analyst at NPR. Unique views increased by 60 percent over January 2010, the month Kramer started. Today the Fresh Air website attracts some 1 million people per month.

“I think I just know how to talk to people,” Kramer told Nieman. “I enjoy working here. I enjoy reading the books on the show, I watch the movies, I am a fan as much as I am an employee. I’m passing things along because I enjoy them.”

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