On the Media

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On the Media
Other namesOTM
GenreNews (media analysis)
Running timec. 50 minutes
Country of originUnited States
Home stationWNYC
SyndicatesWNYC Studios
Hosted byBrooke Gladstone
Produced by
  • Micah Loewinger
  • Eloise Blondiau
  • Molly Schwartz
  • Rebecca Clark-Callender
  • Suzanne Gaber
  • Candice Wang
Executive producer(s)Katya Rogers
Edited byBrooke Gladstone
Recording studioNew York City
Original release1993 –
Audio formatStereophonic
Opening themeBen Allison, composer

On the Media (OTM) is an hour-long weekly radio program hosted and edited by Brooke Gladstone that reaches about 1.6 million listeners across the United States.[1] It is produced by WNYC-New York Public Radio. OTM is first broadcast on Friday evening over WNYC's FM service and is syndicated nationwide to more than 400 other public radio outlets. The program is available by audio stream, MP3 download, and podcast.[2] OTM also publishes a weekly newsletter featuring news on current and past projects as well as relevant links from around the web.[3]


OTM explores how the news and other media influence the public's worldview. Many stories center on events of the previous week and critique how they were covered in the news. These segments often consist of interviews with reporters about the challenges they face in covering controversial issues, as well as media scholars and analysts.

OTM has covered topics such as the use of video news releases, net neutrality, digital broadcast flags, media consolidation, censorship, freedom of the press, disinformation, the influence of 24-hour cable news television coverage, media bias, and how technology is changing the media.

The show also addresses questions about how the media is influenced or spun by politicians,[4] corporations and interest groups with the intent to shape public opinion. This includes an OTM feature that covers the media's use of terminology that may engender biased points of view, such as the use of hot-button issues and code words like "Michael Moore," "torture," "evangelical" and "islamofascist".[5]

In the wake of the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, OTM shifted its editorial focus somewhat to give more time to reporting undercovered stories.[6] Since then, OTM has produced a 2016 series on poverty and a 2019 series on eviction,[7] as well as 2018 investigative series, in partnership with The Guardian, on what the media gets wrong in coverage of white supremacists.[8]

OTM's ongoing "Breaking News Consumer's Handbook" series advises the public on how to tell good reporting from bad during the early hours and days of coverage of "a big, tragic story,"[9] such as coverage of hurricanes.[10]


On the Media first aired February 7, 1993 on WNYC as a local call-in show, initially hosted by Brian Lehrer, then Warren Levinson, and later by Alex S. Jones. During its early episodes it was called "Inside Media," but the title was changed to avoid confusion with a same-named trade publication.[11] In 1997, the show went national in a magazine-style format, hosted by Brian Lehrer. During this period, On the Media was under-resourced, Lehrer had commitments stemming from his own daily show, and On the Media did not have an editor.[12]

In late 2000, Gladstone was brought in by WNYC's director of programming to rethink and relaunch the show.[13][14] The newly formatted OTM debuted in January 2001, co-hosted by Gladstone and Bob Garfield. In May 2021, Garfield was dismissed for repeated violations of WNYC's anti-bullying policy.[15][16] Gladstone continued as the show's sole host.

More than 400 public radio stations currently broadcast the show weekly.[14][17] The show was distributed by NPR until 2015, when WNYC began self-distributing the show.[18]


On the Media won a 2004 Peabody Award for excellence.[19] The judges wrote that "On the Media reminds us that the messenger is always part of the message and must be examined as such".[20] In addition, the show has won Edward R. Murrow awards for investigative reporting,[21] the National Press Club's Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism,[22] and the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism in both 2012[23] and 2013.[24] In 2014 and 2015, On the Media won Best Single Story—Radio, Television, Cable or Online Broadcast Media at the Mirror Awards.[25][26] In 2016, On the Media was awarded the Silver Gavel for its episode "Bench Press".[27] In 2017, producer Meara Sharma was awarded a Gracie Award for her production of the episode "Kidnapped," a special hour on how people around the world get news from Syria.[28] In 2023, On the Media won a Peabody Award for its series "The Divided Dial," which charted the growth and influence of the broadcasting company Salem Media Group, and its impact on far-right politics.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Connecticut Forum: Brooke Gladstone, Award-winning Journalist, Author, and Host of 'On the Media'". www.ctforum.org. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  2. ^ Friess, Steve (April 5, 2006). "Podcasting Roils NPR Fund Raising". Wired News. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2010. Full episode podcasts began in August 2005.
  3. ^ "On The Media Blog - WNYC". WNYC. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  4. ^ Institute, The Poynter (2016-11-07). "Here's (some of) the best political journalism of 2016". Poynter. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  5. ^ Mike Pesca, editor. Word Watch (Audio). On the Media. Archived from the original (MP3) on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2007-03-04.
  6. ^ Mullin, Benjamin (2016-11-10). "On the Media's editorial meeting is a portrait of newsrooms after Election Day". Poynter. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  7. ^ Newman, Judith (2022-11-22). "On This Night, She Was the (Other) Story". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  8. ^ Edmonds, Rick (2018-03-19). "Morning Mediawire: After drastic cuts at The Denver Post, what is Digital First's end game?". Poynter. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  9. ^ "The Breaking News Consumer's Handbook". WNYC.org.
  10. ^ Funke, Daniel (2018-09-12). "9 tips to avoid spreading misinformation about hurricanes". Poynter. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  11. ^ Gruenewald, Anton. "On the Media's Big Bang". www.wnyc.org. New York Public Radio Archives & Preservation. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  12. ^ Wakefield, Jeffrey (3 November 201). "Brooke Gladstone '78". The University of Vermont. Retrieved 30 December 2021. Gladstone's work earned the attention of New York's flagship public radio station, WNYC, which wanted her to relaunch a failing show called On the Media, which had promise but was under-resourced and lacked an editor.
  13. ^ "Brooke Gladstone", The Transom Review vol. 4, issue #1 (March 1, 2004).
  14. ^ a b 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
  15. ^ "WNYC Fires Bob Garfield, Co-Host of ‘On the Media,’" from The New York Times, 5/17/2021
  16. ^ "'On The Media' Co-Host Bob Garfield Fired Over Bullying Complaints". Gothamist. 2021-05-17. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  17. ^ "About On the Media". On the Media website. Accessed Dec. 14, 2011.
  18. ^ WNYC to self-distribute Radiolab, On the Media
  19. ^ 64th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2005.
  20. ^ "NPR Wins Peabody Award for Iraq Reporting" (Press release). April 9, 2005. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  21. ^ "2003 NATIONAL EDWARD R. MURROW AWARD WINNERS". RTDNA. Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 30 December 2021. NPR's On the Media: Commercials That Masquerade as News. Case in Point: The World Business Review
  22. ^ "WNYC AWARDS REPORT, 2004—2005", WNYC website. Accessed Sept. 26, 2010.
  23. ^ Bart Richards Award honors 'On the Media' Penn State University website. Accessed April 6, 2012.
  24. ^ 'On the Media' repeats as Bart Richards Award winner. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  25. ^ "Winners Announced in Newhouse School's 2014 Mirror Awards Competition". SU News. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  26. ^ "2015 Mirror Awards Winners Announced". SU News. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  27. ^ "2016 Winners". American Bar Association. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  28. ^ "2017 Gracie Winners". Alliance for Women in Media. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  29. ^ "The Divided Dial". Peabody Awards. Peabody Awards. Retrieved 14 June 2023.

External links[edit]