NPR: The Trials and Triumphs of National Public Radio

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Columbia University Press, Jun 14, 2005 - Performing Arts - 216 pages

The people who shaped America's public broadcasting system thought it should be "a civilized voice in a civilized community"—a clear alternative to commercial broadcasting. This book tells the story of how NPR has tried to embody this idea. Michael P. McCauley describes NPR's evolution from virtual obscurity in the early 1970s, when it was riddled with difficulties—political battles, unseasoned leadership, funding problems—to a first-rate broadcast organization.

The book draws on a wealth of primary evidence, including fifty-seven interviews with people who have been central to the NPR story, and it places the network within the historical context of the wider U.S. radio industry. Since the late 1970s, NPR has worked hard to understand the characteristics of its audience. Because of this, its content is now targeted toward its most loyal listeners—highly educated baby-boomers, for the most part—who help support their local stations through pledges and fund drives.


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NPR: the trials and triumphs of National Public Radio

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Any history of a large corporation must cover finances and bureaucracy to some degree, but McCauley's account of NPR's past rarely ventures beyond these subjects. The author, who worked in radio for ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Michael P. McCauley, a former radio journalist, is associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine. The lead editor of Public Broadcasting and the Public Interest, he lives in Bangor, Maine.
McCauley's meticulous research is presented with a human face.

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