chapter  20
6 Pages

Growing NPR

WithWilliam E. Buzenberg

For years considered insignificant, public radio can no longer be ignored as an upstart by bigger and better-financed commercial radio broadcasters. The size of National Public Radio's (NPR) growing and dedicated audience, as well as the kind of people who listen, clearly challenge old assumptions that public radio was just for "zither concert" types and well-heeled classical music buffs. NPR is not above making fun of radio itself, with a satirical spin of the radio dial. Besides attracting competitors, NPR's success and increasingly high profile have also contributed to growing political pressure from Congress and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. NPR News programs deal with an enormous range and number of issues, including both those that are the most controversial and central to the day's national debate, and those that generally can count on much more cursory treatment in other media.