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NPR (formerly National Public Radio) is a privately and publicly funded nonprofit media entity that broadcasts programming from hundreds of stations across the country. After Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, NPR was create a few years later in 1970. The nonprofit produces and distributes news content and other programming as well. Most local stations across the country broadcast a combination of NPR programming and content from other sources for people to listen to in their cars and motorcycles, since they are not required to use all programs produced. NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered are among the top three most popular radio shows in the country [1].

Controversy over Juan Williams Firing

People trust their local National Public Radio stations because they tend to regard them as more objective than most other news sources. Yet the network has not been free of its share of controversies. In October of 2010 long time news analyst Juan Williams was fired over comments he made on Fox News about Muslims. The comments were looked upon by leadership as inconsistent with their editorial standards. But the way the firing was handled came under fire. Later on after the firing had already been carried out, some inside the organization admitted that the situation could have been handled better. Some said that Williams possibly should have been suspended while the case was being reviewed [1].

In the immediate aftermath of the Juan Williams firing, many conservative leaders across the country including luminaries like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich called for NPR to lose the federal funding it currently receives. These demands are nothing new from that side of the aisle; but the controversy has renewed the enthusiasm of conservatives over the matter. Interestingly enough, Williams received a new contract from Fox News and listener funding during an ongoing drive was unaffected by the controversy [1].

Diverse Programming

But NPR is about more than just petty controversies. Though at times it has been accused of liberal bias, a charge frequently taken up by conservatives, all in all the network is looked upon by average Americans as being more trustworthy as a news source than the television networks or other places people get their news. With diverse programming and a good mix of personalities that inform and entertain all through the week and the weekend hours, NPR continues to be very popular nationwide, enjoying very high ratings in most major markets and strong listener support all around the country.

NPR is different from many other types of radio programming in many different ways. It features all kinds of different shows and content, including humorous programs such as Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and A Prairie Home Companion. Both are extremely popular shows with their loyal listeners and A Prairie Home Companion was actually made into a fictional movie featuring the show and some of its characters as the backdrop. The movie included some actual cast members plus notable actors playing other roles.

Ever since its inception in the early 1970s, NPR has had its own style and its own way of seeing the world and reporting on everything from the war in Iraq to online car insurance. For many listeners it is hard to believe that the network actually receives federal funding since much of its programming is spent dissecting activities by the government or panning them. The local stations are love by their listeners in markets all across the United States. As time goes by, ratings have continued to be strong and the stations in each market seem to do well against the competition. NPR is a radio staple all these years after its founding.


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