Inside NPR

Cutting Edge Of Technology...And Style

Even in our early days, NPR worked hard to produce and distribute the news using the best technical equipment and devices available. As you might imagine, we've come a long way from putting our stories together by editing reel-to-reel tape with razor blades.

Enjoy this look behind the scenes at our initial forays into advanced systems.

And, yes, enjoy the fashions too.

  • NPR senior engineer Wayne Hetrich.
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    NPR senior engineer Wayne Hetrich.
  • A view of the original MOTC (Main Origination Technical Center) control console. That face peeking out from the center panel belongs to Ralph Woods...just being Ralph.
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    A view of the original MOTC (Main Origination Technical Center) control console. That face peeking out from the center panel belongs to Ralph Woods...just being Ralph.
  • Bruce Wahl built NPR's first Master Control, seen here still in the construction phase in 1972.
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    Bruce Wahl built NPR's first Master Control, seen here still in the construction phase in 1972.
  • Wayne Hetrich working on the Accu-Peak meter. This device, which NPR had patented, measures loudness.
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    Wayne Hetrich working on the Accu-Peak meter. This device, which NPR had patented, measures loudness.
  • NPR staffer Bruce Wahl and Gary Henderson get some help unloading the MOTC's audio routing switcher, which just arrived from Toronto (photo by Ched Hudson).
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    NPR staffer Bruce Wahl and Gary Henderson get some help unloading the MOTC's audio routing switcher, which just arrived from Toronto (photo by Ched Hudson).
  • This staffer at an NPR Member station shows off the style of the 1970s and some reel-to-reel tape machines.
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    This staffer at an NPR Member station shows off the style of the 1970s and some reel-to-reel tape machines.
  • Jay Kernis cutting tape at a reel-to-reel machine in the early 1970s.
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    Jay Kernis cutting tape at a reel-to-reel machine in the early 1970s.
  • Senior engineer John Long at the Master Control wiring wall, which has 15,000 connections.
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    Senior engineer John Long at the Master Control wiring wall, which has 15,000 connections.
  • Ed Jones in Master Control at NPR's M Street building. Yes, that is red felt on the walls and floor.
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    Ed Jones in Master Control at NPR's M Street building. Yes, that is red felt on the walls and floor.
  • The Philips console inside NPR's first remote truck: a Winnebago RV.
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    The Philips console inside NPR's first remote truck: a Winnebago RV.
  • Wes Richardson in NPR's Tape Center.
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    Wes Richardson in NPR's Tape Center.
  • Engineers install the first satellite transmission antenna in 1979, at the MOT (Main Origination Terminal), a facility we shared with PBS in Springfield, VA (photo by George Geesey).
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    Engineers install the first satellite transmission antenna in 1979, at the MOT (Main Origination Terminal), a facility we shared with PBS in Springfield, VA (photo by George Geesey).
  • Frank Mankiewicz launches the MOTC, the satellite control system, on July 17, 1981 (photo by Ched Hudson).
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    Frank Mankiewicz launches the MOTC, the satellite control system, on July 17, 1981 (photo by Ched Hudson).

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