Producing Radio at NPR: Anna Bauman ’17

June 6, 2019

Jane Hobson ’22

Headshot of Anna Bauman. Photo.
Anna Bauman ’17
Photo credit: Courtesy of Anna Bauman

At Oberlin, Anna Bauman ’17 majored in history and minored in politics and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies. During her senior year, she landed a reporting internship for Cleveland’s 90.3 WCPN Ideastream. After graduation, Bauman decided to continue with radio and took an internship with On Point, WBUR-Boston’s and NPR’s live national call-in show. Bauman is no longer an intern there—she’s an associate producer.

What did you focus on during your time at Oberlin?

Outside of classes, I played on the Ultimate Frisbee team, baked bread for Old Barrows, and served as a Ninde mentor and Spanish tutor at Oberlin High School. During my senior year, I cohosted a talk show on WOBC with my friend Dana Brandes-Simon called Converse, where we conducted long-form interviews with Oberlin community members.

What do you do as an associate producer for On Point?

Each week, I’m tasked with producing two hours of live radio from concept to finished project. My responsibilities include pitching stories, conducting research, booking standout guests, editing sound, writing scripts, and creating a narrative arc for the show. Sometimes I have a few days to prepare, other times news breaks at 8:00 a.m. and we work as a team to pull a show together by 10:00 a.m. After over a year on the job, a deadline will never scare me again.

Anna answering calls in the studio. Photo.
Anna Bauman ’17 answering calls in the studio.
Photo courtesy of Anna Bauman

What has your experience at NPR been like so far?

Working at On Point has been an exhilarating and challenging creative experience. Since we broadcast 10 hours of live radio a week, we cover most anything you could think of. I’ve produced shows on a range of topics including Beyoncé, the Mueller Report, and artificial intelligence. It feels like I extended my liberal arts education into my job. Reading and staying informed is a job requirement.

Do you have any advice for Oberlin students who might be interested in pursuing a similar career path?

Leverage all of the resources at Oberlin you can! My senior year internship at WCPN was the perfect starter kit for working in radio. They immediately threw me into recording in the field, pitching ideas, and writing short stories for live broadcasts. While Oberlin does not have a journalism major, there are so many classes that can help you think critically and become a better writer. Take a class in creative writing! While a subject may not be explicitly related to radio, you’ll still use many of the analytical brain muscles that will take you far in the field. Obies are also all over the audio world. Send them an email! Buy them a coffee or talk over the phone.

In the future, Anna hopes to continue covering the news on the radio and maybe even venture into podcasting.

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