Skip to comments.National Public Radio PR Plans 'Major' News Expansion
Posted on 06/16/2004 3:59:29 AM PDT by kattracks
(CNSNews.com) - National Public Radio has decided to use a philanthropist's generous donation for a "major expansion" of its news operation.
NPR announced on Tuesday that it would spend $15 million over the next three years on additional reporters, editors, producers and managers; as well as new domestic and international bureaus.
The 2004-2007 expansion will be funded in part by interest from the $225 million in bequests that NPR received from the late philanthropist Joan Kroc, the widow of the man who founded McDonald's.
Joan Kroc died in October 2003. NPR has described her bequest as "the largest monetary gift ever received by an American cultural institution."
'Serious and thoughtful content'
On Tuesday, NPR called its news expansion "unique in the current media climate." NPR noted that it is expanding at a time when other news media organizations continue a pattern of retrenchment -- eliminating staff, bureaus and resources -- to increase profits.
"This investment will expand NPR's capacity to bring in-depth and top-quality reporting to its growing audience, at a time when other news organizations are retreating from the presentation of serious and thoughtful content," said Kevin Klose, NPR's president and CEO.
"Our goal is to serve our stations and their listeners with expanded in-depth reports from around the country and the world. We recognize that in this era, Americans seek reliable fact-based journalism that is up-to-the-minute and provides deep context and detail."
NPR says it has experienced rapid audience growth in the last decade, from 11.5 million weekly listeners in 1994 to 22 million in 2004.
NPR said its expansion plan includes the hiring of 45 additional news personnel, a 15 percent staff increase. The extra personnel will allow NPR to "improve coverage of breaking news and develop deeper investigative reporting," it said in a press release.
NPR also said it plans to expand staff for its Morning Edition and All Things Considered news programs, as well as its new Day to Day midday news program. "These new positions will enhance Morning Edition's ability to broadcast from both coasts and permit hosts the opportunity to do more reporting and in-depth work," NPR said.
NPR also plans to open new foreign bureaus in the next three years, in addition to the 14 it already has. The new bureaus will help NPR "expand coverage of such under-reported places as Asia, Latin America and Africa," the press release said.
NPR also plans to "enhance and expand in-depth local news," which it describes as "a critically important need for millions of Americans that is increasingly ignored by many other broadcasters."
And finally, NPR said it will establish a radio and Internet news training program for young people. "The fellowships will broaden and diversify staff and develop future staff and talent for public radio," it said.
"We have always been a lean news group that does more with less," NPR's CEO Kevin Klose said. "We now will be able to do better with more.
"That means, among other things, having the flexibility to cover and provide context for what's in the news now while we're uncovering the people, places and ideas that are emerging in the news."
Founded in 1970 with 90 member stations, NPR describes itself as a "primary source of news, information and cultural expression for nearly 22 million listeners a week via more than 770 public radio stations."
As CNSNew.com reported earlier, NPR receives indirect support from federal taxpayers.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a government-funded nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, funnels tax dollars to 770 NPR affiliates nationwide in the form of Community Service Grants.
In turn, about 50 percent of NPR's national operating budget comes from those local affiliates, which pay to run NPR programming, CEO Klose said.
Klose said only a small percentage of NPR's annual budget comes from federal taxpayers. Most of it comes from foundation grants and corporate underwriting.
But critics have questioned whether NPR should receive any taxpayer dollars.
See Earlier Story:
NPR's Public Funding Questioned After $200 Million Donation (7 Nov. 2003)
NPR FUND-RAISER TELETHON SCRIPT
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - MALE: "Where else are you going to hear the fine programming you've come to expect from NPR and your affiliate stations? Just think of all the times you and your family have enjoyed hearing how little Americans do for the world from someone with a British accent. The time is now, folks, pick up that phone and show your support!"
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - FEMALE: "That's right, people. When you want commentary that passes for news, where do you turn your dial? When you want entertainment that pokes fun of politics you don't like, where do you turn your dial? When you just want to know what to think, where do you tune the dial? Some of you, though, come here week after week, lurking around, and enjoy the high-quality programming we all enjoy for free, but you still haven't stepped up to the plate to help. Do you think that Public Radio is for the public? Please, for the love of the children, pick-up the phone and start doing your part today!"
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - ETHNIC MALE: "You make a good point, [name], too many people take what we do every day for granted and never, EVER, put up there fair share. I mean, we work hard day after day doing things like what we're doing now. If NPR wasn't here, there wouldn't be nothing worth listening to on the air. Some of us here even pay taxes and most all the other bills all of you listeners pay too, and we still can't get ahead because some people, and you know who I'm talking about, are trying to keep us down. And some of you don't care enough to give us our due and show your support with money - long green - and, believe me, we keep caller and donor lists so we know who you are, too."
NPR AFFILIATE - FEMALE: "I hear ya, [name]! The funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is only a small portion of our needs. We have bills too, ya' know. We still don't have the latest technology we want to lead the world in having all-digital-all-the-time facilities to dominate the radio for decades to come! I mean, whoa! That digital stuff is s-o-o-o expensive even most commercial stations can't afford it. Many of our buildings are, like, more than 10 years old! I mean, last week, here at this station, we actually had to choose domestic walnut paneling for our studio remodel instead of sustainably-grown Bubinga wood from Brazil because the import costs were too high. Imagine working under these kinds of conditions. Its like working in your folks basement - ewww! Our staff budget keeps growing every year as we hire more and more fellow travelers for the kinds of jobs we want to do and yet, at the same time, there are those mean spirits in government that actually want to cut our budget! This isn't the kind of America that we know is it? Come on, people! Get out those wallets and give us a call! To show how much we appreciate your donation, you can get all sorts of nifty premiums...what are we giving this year [name]?"
NRP AFFILIATE HOST - MALE: "For our lowest support category, the 'Silver Comrade', we'll send you a thank you and a post card showing all of us at our Colorado ski retreat last winter. For the next level, the 'Golden Comrade' you'll also get a bottle of Chardonnay from the Winery of Defrocked Priests in San Francisco. For the highest level, you'll get all of the stuff the others are getting, plus you'll also get a top-security clearances for any kind of sensitive military information you or the country you work for might desire. Oh wait, that was the offer we gave out under the Clinton administration..."
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - FEMALE: "Oops! You almost spilled the beans [name]! Actually, folks, this year's 'Platinum Comrade' premium is a genuine autographed copy of Hillary's new book signed by one of her staff. You just can't go wrong with deals like this. Where else can you "
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - ETHNIC MALE: "Look, let's cut to the chase, dammit! We need money. You got money. We'll get it now, voluntarily, or we'll get it later with a pair of pliers when we get back in power. You wine-sipping liberals better get out your plastic, NOW!"
[Public Service Announcement]
[The studio microphones come back up...]
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - FEMALE: Well, [name], there certainly has been a lot of excitement here today. Oh, wait! The phones are ringing..."
[The sound of subdued chatter and the ring of a single phone is heard. An operator has picked up the phone and can be heard, indistinctly, speaking to someone ]
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - MALE: "That's right [name], the last time I saw the staff as excited as they are today was when Gorbachev first came to America! But excitement just isn't enough, friends! We need your support like never before. Call your Senators and Congress people and tell them you want to see more tax dollars go to Public Broadcasting because you don't want Big Bird to die. And die he will if funds dry up. In fact, the talk here this morning has even been that some of our staff may face losing his, er, their job if your support dollars aren't enough to make up the difference between what we demand, er, ask of government funding and what we are spending.
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - FEMALE: "It is a sad time indeed, people. When hard times come, we have to layoff people just like every other business. Thankfully, I'm white and perky."
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - MALE: "There's a lot of truth in what you say, [name], these are dark days indeed. Like you, I have two brand new SUV's to pay for and my family just bought a vacation home in Vail. We all have obligations, but some of us are doing something about fighting for the world-view we want to dominate in the generations to come. Others out there just don't care and go on stealing entertainment from us while living their selfish, indulgent lives for themselves instead of all of the world's citizens like we do. Shame on them."
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - FEMALE: "That's so sad, and so true. But it doesn't have to be that way. We can join hands and fight back. We can pick up the fallen banner and march for peace and justice together. C'mon, people! Let's all join the struggle - but it starts today, with your CASH donations!"
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - MALE: "Won't you please, please, please pick-up your phone and give us a call? What ever came of that last caller, [name]?"
NPR AFFILIATE HOST - FEMALE: "Uh, what did the caller say, [name of operator]?"
OPERATOR: "Nothing. It was a wrong number "
[There is a long silence.]
[Music plays and a voice intones: 'Please Stand by ']
Easy. As soon as someone becomes wealthy the charity fundraiser vultures start circling. The richer you are the higher up the ladder of command will be the perso0n soliciting your contribution.
This has the effect of stroking the ego of the wealthy. It makes them feel important. Which in the scheme of these charities they are.
Then there is the effect of the wives of the rich. Because the men of the wealthy couples are busy building wealth the wives receive the brunt of the assault. They receive the most attention because they have more free time, women are intrinsically more solicitous of the welfare of others and women are more likely to out live their husbands.
So wealthy women being more likely to survive their husbands and be the inheritors of great wealth the charity vultures are going to circle them like a dying wildebeest hoping to secure a portion of the estate for their left wing purposes.
Naturally as these ladies of leisure age and become more mentally enfeebled they become more and more subject to suggestion of those have over the years gained their trust through flattery and doting attention.
So it is only human nature and the natural order (men die sooner than women) that make it very likely that these left wing charities will gain the lions share of the money coming out the estates of these great capitalist.
Looks like a full employment act for liberals...
"so pick up that phone and call 1-8888-_ _ _ -_ _ _ _ , (fake telephone rings, background crowd noise) volunteers are standing by, again it's 1-8888-_ _ _ -_ _ _ _ ,and for those of you who are hearing impaired, just turn on your local television PBS affilliate and you'll see the number displayed on the bottom of the screen. Please call now; we have two lines open; it's 1-8888-_ _ _ -_ _ _ _ . We're just about to return to our pre-empted programming but before we do we must meet this challenge, oh, we have two volunteers ready to take your call (ring, ring) and now a word from our sponsors...
Other news organizations don't have the luxury of operating on the largesse of people's guilt.