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National Public Radio Embraces Advertising … Itself

National Public Radio Embraces Advertising … Itself Credit: Radio image via Shutterstock

National Public Radio has built its reputation partly on avoiding advertising. That is, until now.  NPR has decided to launch a first-of-its-kind ad campaign this month, one designed to drum up new listeners.

The 42-year-old organization announced this week it will be using a $750,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to launch the campaign, which is to run for three months on several PBS stations in the United States and to be accompanied by ads on billboards and in train stations. There also will be digital, print and social media components to the campaign.

NPR Chief Marketing Officer Emma Carrasco said: “While 34 million people tune into NPR stations every week, research has shown that there are millions more who are likely to appreciate NPR programming."

The public broadcasting stations participating in this pilot program include ones in San Diego, Dallas-Fort Worth, Indianapolis and Orlando. A Baltimore-based branding and communications firm, Planit, was chosen to lead the advertising effort, which aims to draw out more listeners from among the college-educated adult populations who reside within the listening areas.

"These potential listeners want to hear stories about what is going on around the world and across the nation from journalists they can trust, and they want to understand a variety of perspectives. This campaign draws attention to the unique option that NPR provides,” Carrasco said.

The campaign is focused on breaking stereotypes about the kinds of people who usually listen to NPR and will include the call letters and frequencies for local NPR stations.

Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth writes about innovative technologies and business trends. She has traveled throughout the Americas in her roles as student, English teacher, Spanish language interpreter and freelance writer. She graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University. You can follow her on Twitter @techEpalermo or .