chapter  21
8 Pages

Monopoly to Marketplace—Competition Conies to Public Radio

WithStephen L. Salyer

American Public Radio (APR) embraced principles of competition that were at that time foreign to public radio, functioned more like a commercial business than a membership organization and promoted the virtues of a program marketplace in which stations could select and purchase only those programs that met their local needs. From its inception, APR took a very different approach to program production than National Public Radio (NPR), in large part to avoid the conflict between the role of program distributor and that of producer. While APR's mission embraced both news and cultural programming from the outset, the high cost of creating the necessary news infrastructure required a strategy different from NPR's. "Marketplace" is produced by KUSC-FM at the University of Southern California, not by APR, although the arrangements surrounding APR's initial investment and continuing support of the program resemble a co-production or co-ownership situation. Although APR and NPR are growing, neither's growth is occurring at the expense of the other.