Thursday, September 15, 2005

Chicago Tribune story examines financial success of NPR

Society of Professional Journalists: "NPR prospers, walled off from Wall Street
ORIGINAL SOURCE:,1,2647923.column?coll=chi-navrailbusiness-nav&ctrack=1&cset=true


Wall Street probably would be impressed by a media outfit that managed to double its weekly audience from 13 million to 26 million in a little more than six years. Yet the folks who run National Public Radio insist it's because they don't have to impress Wall Street that they've been able to increase their listenership and, with it, revenue through listener contributions, sponsorships, and foundation support. 'The paradigm we live in is different from having to report quarterly bottom-line results that would drive a stock price up,' Kevin Klose, NPR's president and CEO, said Tuesday. 'That's a different place to be, especially when maximizing profit is such a huge driver in the news business.' While the radio world has contracted in upon itself through consolidated ownership and copycat formats, public radio has only become more distinct, important and valuable. It looms ever larger on the U.S. dial simply as guardian of its niche. It's expanding its news operation at a time when most others are cutting back. It's in the midst of a $15 million, three-year plan to add 45 staffers and open new bureaus, including one in West Africa. But more important, listen to an NPR program for 30 seconds and you know you're listening to NPR. Unlike its TV cousin, PBS, whose specialties have been cloned by cable networks that siphon off the viewers underwriters want to reach, it's tough to argue NPR is redundant.

Source: Phil Rosenthal, The Chicago Tribune

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