Turns out that we know several of you who are NPR Junkies. So, it begs the question, what is NPR? Let’s see, the Junkies around here are Lori V. and Rosie. Back east, the Junkettes are Ginny and Lisa. I do not know the frequency on the FM dial. It is FM, right? I just read where it is 88.5FM.
NPR was formerly called National Public Radio. It is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization, I would assume similar to PBS. They turn around and syndicate the shows to 900 public radio stations across the US.
NPR produces and distributes news and cultural programming. The various individual radio stations do not have to broadcast all NPR produced programs. Even rival providers are allowed, as well as local produced programming. Their flagship programs are Morning Edition and the afternoon All Things Considered. They are the two most popular radio programs in the country.
NPR distributes their programs, as well as independently produced programs via the Public Radio Satellite System. Content is also available on-demand via the web, mobile, and podcasts.
The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Public Broadcasting Service, in addition to NPR. NPR’s first program broadcast in April 1971, covering Senate hearings on the Vietnam War. All Things Considered began in May, 1971, hosted by Robert Conley.
NPR nearly died in the 80s with over $7 million in debt. Fortunately, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting agreed to lend the network some money to avoid bankruptcy. NPR agreed to turn its satellite service into a joint venture, making it possible for non-NPR shows to attain national distribution.
In 2002, NPR spent $13 million to acquire and equip a West Coast 25,000 square foot production facility. It was called “NPR West” and located in Culver City, CA. The facility improved coverage over the west and provided a measure of security in the event of a catastrophe in Washington, DC.
Leave it to the estate of Joan Kroc, widow to Ray Kroc , the founder of McDonald’s to donate $235 million. It was the largest donation ever made to a cultural institution. An endowment was increased with $35 million from Mrs. Kroc. The 2005 budget was $120 million.
In July 2010, NPR quietly replaced the National Public Radio moniker. In October 2010, NPR received a grant of $1.8 million from the Open Society Network. It is a program designed to add 100 journalists at NPR member station across the 50 states over a three-year period.
NPR is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of sixteen people, including the Chair of the NPR Foundation. The current President and CEO of NPR is Gary Knell. Most recently, NPR revenues totaled $180 million, 50% of which comes from fees it charges its member stations. Member stations raise money through pledge drives, much as seen on PBS.
According to surveys, about 20 million people listen to NPR on a daily basis. Get this!!! The average listener is 50 years old, and makes $78,000 a year. Their listenership is 80% white, and 20% for the rest of us. The Morning Edition program is the networks most popular program with 12.9 million listeners a week. All Things Considered is a close second at 12.2 million listeners. And in 2005, NPR was voted the most trusted news service in a Harris Poll.
In perhaps one of the strangest juxtapositions of political leanings, NPR has been accused of both a liberal and a conservative bias. In addition, NPR has been accused of bias towards Iraq and Israel. How does anyone really ascertain the validity of these so-called biases? Flip a coin, and donate it to NPR after it lands on its edge?
Some of the music can be characterized as leading edge, such as Bon Iver in November 2011, the famous song writer, Jimmy Webb in September 2011, and Emmy Lou Harris at the Newport Folk Festival. And I love their recent special on “The Fourth Stooge: Memories of Uncle Shemp”. I am so thankful I do not have an Uncle Shemp. I do have an Uncle Sus, not to be confused with Dr. Seuss. Note: In the entire universe, why did I tune in to NPR on my way back from the Grand Canyon, only to hear all about Uncle Shemp?
If I were to draw some common characteristics from those of you NPR-Heads out there, it would be this. You are all strong-willed, all female, all well read and educated, and above all, all opinionated (in a good way, of course). I wonder what the typical demographic profile of an NPR-Head would be?
Go Shemp!!!!! You were a legend.