What does npr stand for? National Pentagon Radio? Who knows? They never say.

UPDATE (17 May 2021): Mi amigo/My friend has started listening to National Public Radio in the morning — both from the network — and from Philadelphia for Fresh Air. He heard the outdated and pejorative language “Third World (Country/Countries)” on Fresh Air. Terry Gross is responsible for that as the co-Executive Producer of the programme. I guess Terry hasn’t read npr’s own article about that. Aside from that backwards-ness, mi amigo said that listening to npr is like listening to Nice Polite Republicans. Related: If You Shouldn’t Call It The Third World, What Should You Call It? Again, that’s from npr themselves. Take a read, Terry. Mi amigo was shocked to hear that on npr. He said “When we were devoted listeners we didn’t hear that on npr.” Yeah well, that was then when people had standards. Today? That’s all gone. I’m not the least bit surprised to hear this shit on npr. And I suspect there’s a lot worse that we haven’t heard. Oh by the way, some woman (a guest) used the language “He worked his tail off…” Humans don’t have tails, dear. That’s way outdated. Maybe it should be called National Paleozoic Radio. (For the thick people: The Paleozoic period was 251.902 million years ago).

“np what?” Someone might ask. Do you know what npr stands for? How many of npr’s listeners don’t know what npr stands for? You certainly wouldn’t know from listening to the network. Why has npr stopped saying the words “National Public Radio” on air and when did this start?

Hola a todos. The jazz radio station I listen to is a npr member station. But they only broadcast some of npr’s jazz-related programmes. They don’t air any content from npr News (such as Morning Edition or All Things Considered or news updates). And when I hear the funding credits on the jazz station, the announcer from npr says, “This is npr.” But s/he never says what npr stands for as they used to do when I listened to npr all the time.

For those who listen to npr, do you know what the letters npr stand for, particularly the “n?” Does it stand for:

Nice Polite Republicans? Or, National Pentagon Radio?

Some npr listeners say npr stands for Nice Polite Republicans. Other listeners say that npr stands for National Pentagon Radio, since the network has been such a hawk for US imperialism. Is there any war or US terrorist attack on another country that npr News has opposed?

To be honest, I’ve not listened to npr since the days of when George W Bush was running for US president and Cokie Roberts was gushing over him in one of her segments on Morning Edition with Bob Edwards. Cokie was going on about Bush as being, “he’s a very attractive candidate.” Loca. After that, the network became a shill and hawk for every terrorist attack launched on Afghanistan and Iraq by the US Oligarchy, so I turned npr off and haven’t listened to it since. Well, I take that back. Recently, to write this article I did listen to a couple of newscasts to see if or how their news format had changed, which is why I ask: Why have they abandoned “National Public Radio” in their spoken, on-air network ID? They no longer say that. Why? Mi amigo/My friend says that maybe it’s because the right-wing has gone after npr for so many years. Well that’s true, but how is npr which they say on the air any different than saying National Public Radio, which they don’t say on the air. Both names would be tarnished, if anything is tarnished. Or does npr think that saying just the letters and not the name of the network makes it more sanitised and the “least offensive” to (delicate) people. I don’t know what they think.

I did more research into this: npr has items for sale on their website and none of them say “National Public Radio” either. They have the npr logo only and then there’s one item that says “public radio nerd” rather than “national public radio nerd.” It’s as if the network is running away or already has run away from the word “national” for some reason. I don’t understand that.

I was on npr’s website the other night and no where on their site that I saw do they say what npr stands for. In fact, they have this new thing called NPR Media, which one of their Bay Area member stations is promoting too.

So, I went on two of the local Bay Area member stations for npr. Neither of them say what npr stands for either. And they both give npr a very low profile, which is the opposite of the way it used to be when I was a regular listener to npr. One of the Bay Area npr member stations doesn’t have anything about npr on their website. Neither station say, “We are a npr member station.” One of them has the logos for both npr and PBS at the very bottom of the website because they are both a radio and television station, but that’s the closest thing they come to it.

Well things have certainly changed since I stopped listening to npr. I remember when the member stations heavily promoted the network (npr). It was all about npr. They’re not doing that now. What happened?

When I was a constant listener to npr, anyone at a npr microphone for their newscast said, “From National Public Radio News in Washington, I’m Ann Taylor” (for example). Sorry to read that Ann Taylor left the network sometime ago. We liked her. We (mi amigo/my friend and I) saw her when we visited npr years ago. She was in her news booth reading the news as usual during the first feed broadcast to the member stations of ATC. Then half-way through the newscast, Ann would say, “This is npr.” But as you see, they identified the network that one was listening to. Not now. I listened to two newscasts recently from npr and they never said: “This is npr. National Public Radio.” No, with npr, you’re on your own to figure out what the letters stand for because they’re not about to tell you, not that I heard.

So again, I’m just wondering how many listeners to npr have no idea what the letters stand for since npr seems to have run away from the “National Public Radio” language. In order to find out what the letters stand for, you have to go to wikipedia or somewhere. That’s crazy. Why did npr make such a ludicrous change?

Perhaps it’s a way for npr to become more corporate and corporate-sounding like the other corporate “3-letter” networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC et al. They are just three letters and those corporate networks never identify what their letters stand for either (ABC = American Broadcasting Company, CBS = Columbia Broadcasting System, NBC = National Broadcasting Company). But then you have Fox which is one word, and Univisión and Telemundo which are words and not letters. So maybe npr is trying to be like the corporate networks with their three letters only. Because that’s all they say: ‘This is npr.” And if you don’t know what npr stands for, tough luck! Look it up.

I don’t know why they made this very questionable change, but it doesn’t seem very intelligent and again, I was wondering how many people who listen to npr don’t know what the letters stand for because the network never says. And the same for the two Bay Area npr member stations I checked in with via their websites.

I once dated someone briefly who — I think — was trying to impress me and he mentioned listening to “PBS Radio.” There is no such thing. Showed how much he knew (or didn’t)! When we talked on the phone before our first date I told him about something I heard on npr. By him saying “PBS Radio,” that told me he had no idea what he was talking about, but I didn’t correct him because I was interested in having a date with him and I wanted everything to be smooth without any difficulties. So I just let it go. But there is no PBS Radio. PBS is the television network of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). NPR is the radio network, and both networks are under the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But you can’t fix stupid, so don’t waste your time trying.

Someone might find this interesting:

My tour of the npr headquarters:

As I wrote earlier, I used to listen to npr until around the time that Cokie Roberts (ugh) was droning on and on one morning about George W Bush and how “He’s a very attractive candidate.” Listening to my radio I thought: What the fuck drugs is she on this morning? What is wrong with the woman that she finds George W Bush “a very attractive candidate?” And what did that mean? (Bob didn’t ask her). That she found him hot to look at or his conservative politics were “attractive?” I don’t know what she meant but it’s not what I had expected to hear on npr. Or had she and Bob Edwards been hitting the hooch in the backroom so early in the morning (3AM East Coast time for the first feed of Morning Edition from the network)? Although I think Cokie was at home and talking with Bob in the studio by phone. I think that’s the way that worked. Politically with npr, things went downhill after that as far as I was concerned. Most of npr’s on-air “celebrities” (such as Mara Liasson) became mouthpieces for the conservative, pro-war Establishment. And in my opinion, Cokie became more conservative after she began working for corporate ABC News. Some npr listeners accused her and others of selling out to corporate for the money, something we’ve seen time after time.

Up until then, I had been a very dedicated listener to npr and I already knew how npr worked with their member stations and their programming, unless they’ve changed something since, which doesn’t seem to have been the case.

Mi amigo/My friend and I had even taken a pre-arranged tour of npr when we were visiting the District of Columbia. This was when they were in their former network headquarters over in the NW section of the District, not their new headquarters in North East DC. We observed the production of All Things Considered one afternoon and saw Ann Taylor read the news in her booth — whom we had heard countless times with her signature sound, “From National Public Radio News in Washington, I’m Ann Taylor” — and all of the other booths in the studio. It was quite a production. Very interesting to watch. We talked briefly with the ATC Producer whose name I believe was Bob Boilen. He’s a really nice guy.  He was very nice to us.  Everyone was welcoming.  Had a nice time, meaning we just sat quietly in the back behind Bob not wanting to be any problem to anyone, in part, since they were broadcasting live the first feed of ATC to the npr member stations. It was interesting watching Bob’s time counter throughout the programme for when everything throughout the programme was supposed to start on the second, such as npr’s bumper music, the news headlines and the segments of the programme, so that the programme ended exactly on time, then the funding credits began from the network. Then I think the next afternoon I tuned into npr member station WAMU in the District and listened to ATC remembering our experience from the day before.

I suppose someone might want to know: Did you see Cokie Roberts or any of the other npr “celebrities?” No, we didn’t see any of them. We didn’t really think about that to tell you the truth. We were not there to see “celebrities.” It was not something I even thought about. We were more interested in the production aspects of the programme. We arrived at the npr reception area and they phoned up to the ATC Studio and told them we were there and we were escorted up to the ATC Studio. We saw the two ATC show hosts, Robert Siegel and Linda Wertheimer, sitting in their booth. So I guess in that case we saw “celebrities,” and then Ann Taylor of npr news arrived at — what seemed like — about 10 seconds before she was supposed to go on to read the newscast at the top of the hour. We watched her. Even though we had never seen her before we knew who she was. She started her sign on in her signature voice, “From National Public Radio News in Washington, I’m Ann Taylor” into the microphone while standing as we both remember it, and then, plop. Plop was her butt hitting the seat of the chair in the news booth after she said “…I’m Ann Taylor.” Then she read the news. Then later at about 19 after the hour, she read the news headlines followed by the bumper music.

The following is for people who are into bumper music: I don’t know how it works now since I don’t listen to npr, but they played good music during the programmes, both for ME (Morning Edition) and ATC. It was part of the reason why I listened. I really enjoyed their bumper music. The producer had a good taste in music. For their bumper music of each programme they had a set of pieces — I think it was about ten pieces of about 10-15 seconds in length each in the set — that the producer chose and the programme used that set for about a year or so before they changed to a new set of music. So these bumper music pieces rotated throughout the programme during the year and were played after the news headlines. Depending upon how much time remaining between the news headlines and the next segment of the programme, the listener got to hear varying parts of each piece, or on occasion (if the news headlines were longer) we heard hardly any of it as it was fading out in the background. Other times, there would be more time available (shorter news headlines) so the producer backed the tape up (or whatever they were using) because they needed more music to fill the time so we got to hear a part of the music that we’d not heard before — that was always interesting — and then would come the familiar part that we’d heard many times before. Regular listeners, if they were paying attention, got to learn the bumper music quite well because we kept hearing it over and over; these ten little short pieces of 10-15 seconds each. I enjoyed nearly everything they chose. Also, the producer chose the best parts of each piece, I noticed. On occasion, I found out what they were playing (meaning the artist and title) and bought it and listened to it and I said, “Yes, he chose the best part of that. The rest of that doesn’t do much for me.” The same was true on Weekend Edition. One of their short bumper music pieces in one of their sets was a piece by Bruce Hornsby that started out with rich piano chords, it sort of had a gospel feel to it. I always listened for that one. Most of the bumper music was in the jazz category. Over the years, I think there was only one piece in one set that they selected that I really didn’t like the first time I heard it (on ME) and it didn’t grow on me over time and I thought: You mean we have to listen to that every-other-morning or so for the next year? That’s because they only used 4 pieces from the full set during the 2 hours of the programme on one day since there were 4 news headlines segments during the 2 hours of the programme. Initially when a new set of bumper music appeared (roughly every year), they played one group of 4 pieces from the full set on one morning and then another group of 4 pieces from the full set on the next morning, then over time they mixed them all up along with the two extras from the set of about 10 pieces, so it became unpredictable. I hope all that makes sense to you. It seems the best way to explain it. But I’m sure some people liked that piece that I didn’t care much for. All the rest I liked.

From my current research, a npr member station pays a general fee to npr, and in addition they also pay a fee for each programme they take/air from the network and play over their local npr member station. In KCSM’s case, that would seem to be quite a bit of wasted money I should think. Paying a lot of dinero/money for something they rarely use, except for a couple of times at pledge time. Or does KCSM’s npr membership go way back when they used to play some npr programming — before becoming a 24-hour jazz station — and they don’t want to cancel their npr membership thinking they might need it in the future? Nevertheless, I just found it odd. And when they do air the npr jazz programme(s) or part of it during pledge drives — they seem to interrupt the npr programme they’re airing to encourage listeners to call — they don’t allow the required npr funding credits to play at all or in their entirety from what I’ve heard over the air. But isn’t that part of the npr contract with the member station to credit npr for that programme? I think so. That’s why when I was listening to sanitised npr — “National Pentagon Radio,” as some refer to it, or “Nice Polite Republicans” as others refer to it where npr never wants to offend anyone, especially the conservatives as if the conservatives would even be listening to them! — the member station played the funding credits from the network which went like this (it was always the same, very-skilled and enunciating guy who read them, usually at a brisk speed):

“Support for this programme is provided by this and other npr member stations and the npr news and information fund. Contributors include The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, _____________. This is npr. National Public Radio.”

If that is not played from the network with the npr programme being aired over the npr member station, the station (KCSM-Jazz 91) is supposed to read that over the air in its entirety per their contract with npr. Is KCSM doing that each time they broadcast a npr programme during pledge drives? I don’t think so. Well, you couldn’t prove it by me and I was listening for it. And I bring all this up because I was waiting to hear the npr funding credits which would tell me that they are a npr member station. I heard part of a npr funding credit once when they were airing the Nancy Wilson hosted npr programme, but that was the only time. I haven’t heard anything since. The point is: npr does not want the local stations taking credit for their content or being lax about airing the funding credits. Personally, I always preferred to hear it from the network rather than to hear the local guy slur and mumble his way though it — loose dentures? — as they did on KQED-FM. I never did understand why KQED cut it off from the network and had Norm read it instead. KALW played the network version, which sounded far superior and professional.

UPDATE: The other day (May 2021) my radio’s station dial somehow got changed. I usually keep it on jazz, but one of the Bay Area npr member stations is a hair away from it and I ended up there somehow. The conversations were very intelligent. I didn’t hear the word “like” every other word fortunately the way it is in Millennial San Francisco. The only word Millenneals seem to know is “like.” But I noticed that all I heard to identify the network I was listening to was “this is npr.” Or, “from npr news…” I never once heard “From National Public Radio…” which confirms the topic of this article. I find it damn odd that they would stop saying that, as if running away from their own brand name. Even the announcer at the local npr member station never said “National Public Radio.” Chau.—el barrio rosa