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12 January 2011

NPR has put a bee in my bonnet again! [More:]This week it seems they have capitalized upon every conceivable opportunity in their news coverage to air tape of John or Jane Q. Public mentioning their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The new Congress must have them shitting their pants about getting their budget slashed.
NPR en masse gives me a headache. I listen to the shows I like online.

So there.
posted by The Whelk 12 January | 23:32
I thought the late Joan Kroc left them a few gazillion in an endowment in 2003? I'm thoroughly clueless on the financial affairs of NPR, & why they need government funding to begin with!
posted by chewatadistance 13 January | 10:44
The network itself is pretty well off, financially. Cutting government funding would mostly hurt the local stations, and would mean we'd have a network full of content with fewer outlets where it could be heard.
posted by BoringPostcards 13 January | 11:07
Oregon Public Broadcasting seems to be doing pretty well, on both the NPR and PBS sides. They have regular beg-a-thons and also ongoing fundraising in other ways. They get some Corporation for Public Broadcasting dollars, though, and those may be in peril.
posted by danf 13 January | 11:39
They get very very little government funding (less than 10%, which includes dues from NPR affiliates who receive government funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting).

I think a contributor to the situation is that there are simply a real lot of religious people in the US, and when folks start getting shot and killed, you will hear more religious talk as people search for a way to frame and make sense of the tragedy.

The Kroc money, IIRC, was mostly for endowment, and that means they can spend only the earnings and not the principal, which would top out at 5% in a good year. That's consistent with the pie slice I see in their operating budget graphic in the link. Thinking "endowment" means "giant chunk of spendable money" is a really common misconception, and one that kind of plagues nonprofits - endowments are obviously awesome, but they're a two-edged sword. Often when people hear "So-and-So Charity got $20 million in endowment!" They think " they're set for life!" when in fact, the charity is never allowed to spend the money that was given - only to spend any interest earned from it. Also, some of the endowment is in restricted funds, so income coming from that portion can only be spent on activities that meet the restriction. Meaning, functionally, you might not be able to buy light bulbs or copy paper with some of it, and instead have to use it for a specific purpose like education or staff development.

Endowments are great, but their purpose is one thing: long-term stability. By growing your endowment you can insure a small but fairly steady income stream for years to come - hopefully arriving at some point like where Harvard or Stanford is right now, where the endowment draw is enough to sustain the basic functions of the institution. But most nonprofits, NPR included, are a super long way from that.
posted by Miko 13 January | 12:01
Huh, I noticed the Voice of the Public being awfully Praise Jesus-y as of late, too. The weirdest including a mother and her two kids, who all talked about how they had embraced Jesus Christ as their Savior who would make sure whatever bad thing that had happened would turn out OK. At least they included the youngest, who sounded a lot like Ralph Wigum, which made me smile.

I wish NPR had more variety, because in a 30 minute morning drive, I hear a lot about one topic, with hints of things to come later in the hour, only to leave the car before I hear about the amazing "digs" of advanced Amazonian civilizations. Good thing they're online.
posted by filthy light thief 13 January | 19:04
I have no tolerance for NPR. Seriously. I am always amazed at the amount of time they spend on the dullest trivia.
posted by bearwife 13 January | 19:29
At least they included the youngest, who sounded a lot like Ralph Wigum, which made me smile.

Heh - We heard that, too! LT and I exchanged glances and I said "Homeschooling is a powerful thing."
posted by Miko 13 January | 22:16
What bearwife said.
posted by arse_hat 14 January | 02:28
When I started my job in 1998 || OMG BUNNY