July 8, 2010; Source: Washington Post | We hope the public broadcasting network formerly known as National Public Radio didn’t pay an army of consultants or high-priced marketing experts to help it decide on a name change. Although the Washington Post says the new name hasn’t been formally announced yet, word apparently has leaked from the broadcaster’s Washington, D.C., headquarters that it now will be called NPR.
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That’s right—the initials most people have been using for years to identify National Public Radio—is now its (sort of) new name. “NPR is more modern, streamlined,” says Vivian Schiller, NPR’s chief executive. The change—aside from the familiarity and the fact it already has a logo that doesn’t need to be altered—is also partly meant to reflect the fact that NPR is more than just a radio network. Its offerings are now delivered over more than the airwaves. Instead, news, music and other public interest programming is heard over the web, portable phones, and other digital devices.
The Washington Post reports, however, that the new name isn’t being received with cheers by all of its nationwide affiliates. NPR’s affiliates, which contribute about 40 percent of NPR’s $154 million operating budget, are still primarily in the radio business. Some station managers have grumbled that NPR has invested in digital operations at the expense of more and better radio programs. If that’s the case, these unhappy station operators might not agree that in every case a “rose by any other name still smells the same.” —Bruce Trachtenberg