National Public Radio History

While National Public Radio was started in 1970, the roots of the company go as far back as the 1940's. The Federal Communications Commission allotted the lower end of the FM band for only non-commercial educational stations. This basically set the stage for expansion of major stations. Commercial radio started to see a decline with the advent of television. But public radio grew along with public television. The Public Broadcasting Act was signed by President Johnson in in 1967 and this led to the creation of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. Johnson's vision was to ensure "the growth and development of non-commercial radio" and to create "programming that will be responsive to the interests of the people".

NPR was founded on February 26, 1970. The founding members were 90 charter stations that sourced national news from the company. The organization aired its first broadcast on April 1971 and covered the United States Senate hearing on the Vietnam War. The first weekly program "All Things Considered" was aired a month later. The premier news magazine "Morning Edition" was launched in 1979.

The satellite delivered radio distribution network was created in the 1980s. It was meant to support the 250 stations that were now affiliated to National Public Radio. Even though the organization suffered a major financial setback in 1983, it recovered and bounced back with better, stronger and more capable governance.

The 1990s saw a major interest in all kinds of news - local, national and international. This led to a growth in the distribution, programming and reach of the organization. Talk of the Nation was a talk show that was aired around the time of the Gulf War. This became a new format that the radio world was introduced to. The 1990s was also a decade when the programming of NPR went beyond the boundaries of the United States.

The events that occurred on September 11, 2001 were a turning point for National Public Radio. The focus shifted to high quality and contextual kind of programming. The company started to look at providing timely news for the US audience and for those living in other countries.


NOTE: Information on this site is not guaranteed to be accurate. Some content is compiled from 3rd party sources. If you are aware of incorrect or outdated information, feel free to contact us.

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