Faces Of NPR is a weekly feature that showcases the people behind NPR, from the voices you hear every day on the radio to the ones who work outside of the recording studio. You'll find out about what they do and what they're inspired by on the daily. This week's post features Digital Media Engineer, Bobby Carter.
Name: Bobby Carter
Job Title: Digital Media Engineer
Where You're From: St. Louis, MO #gocards
An Inside Look:
You're a Digital Media Engineer at NPR. What does that mean?
My team and I are responsible for all audio and video on NPR.org. From our newsmagazine shows, to music, and all points in between, we process thousands of hours of on-demand audio and video to reach all digital platforms. I also work with the Research, Archives, and Data Strategy (RAD) team to maintain our archive. My focus is more on breaking news, special coverage, and live streams, which as of late can make for early mornings and long nights.
How did you get started here? Or what advice do you have for someone who wants a job like yours?
I worked at Member station WJSU in Mississippi as a senior at Jackson State University. I approached Debbie Howe, a recruiter at the time, and asked for job. She offered me an internship. One internship turned into two. I hid in a storage closet and umpteen years later, I'm still here.
What's your favorite #nprlife moment?
Any time I get to talk movies with Bob Mondello is a fanboy moment, but my favorite #nprlife moment is the holiday party. I've DJed our holiday party for years now, and there's nothing like watching your colleagues without their work hats on. Especially two to three hours into the party when every song I play is a favorite and everybody's feeling a bit...better.
What are some of the coolest things you've worked on?
Covering 9/11 isn't the 'coolest' thing I've worked on but it showed me just how much the public relied on the work I do. I'm also very proud of the work that I do with the music team. Particularly, my end of the year write-ups and the Tiny Desk Concerts I've produced like Anderson .Paak, Noname, and Anthony Hamilton.
You also write pieces for NPR Music and DJ. How did you get into music?
Yep. I've been in love with music for as long as I can remember. I shadowed my uncle as a small kid, and there was music everywhere. He's a drummer. I would ride in the car with him as he blasted music and drummed on the steering wheel. I never played an instrument, but I learned how to DJ in high school, which led to college where I met my DJ mentors and honed my craft. I'm grateful that I work in a place that encourages my music and DJ work in addition to my duties as an engineer because it's definitely a strange double life.
What's on your desk?
Magic 8 Ball. NPR Music posters from various shows I've been involved with. Two big speakers. A rear view mirror so you can't run up on me. Scotty McCreery's book, Go Big or Go Home, because that's the motto. Wu-Tang Clan paraphernalia because it's obviously Wu-Tang forever.
What was the last song you listened to?
"Long Ears" by Gabriel Garzón-Montano.
What were you doing before NPR?
Walking across the stage to get my degree.
First thing you do when you get to the office?
I fill up my water canteen, wash my apple, take a deep breath, and check for breaking news.
Favorite Tiny Desk?
A few come to mind. Tank and the Bangas. Graham Nash. Tedeschi Trucks Band. Watching Common perform in the White House library was surreal.
Favorite places in the city?
The National Museum of African American History and Culture.
What do you love about public radio?
It's one of the few places where I can still find a truly unique perspective of the world. When I listen to public radio, I hear effort. There's a million and one stories to tell, and public radio finds a way to tell them. I also love that public radio is cool now. It definitely wasn't that way when I started.