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NPR looks to the future, and its short bench of big show hits

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Of roughly 350 nationally distributed public radio programs, just 17 garner half the listenership. That’s the nugget buried deep in a New York Times piece about the challenge facing NPR: what to do as some of its most popular programs (and hosts) get, shall we say, long in the tooth. It has a couple of new shows (one an Alec Baldwin vehicle) circling for a place to land in the weekend lineup this fall; each aimed at a younger demographic. Here’s a reason for concern:
The aging of public radio’s core shows has given many producers incentive to act now. “Fresh Air” began broadcasting nationally in 1987, “This American Life” in 1995 and “Wait Wait ...” in 1998. A year ago Garrison Keillor, the host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” announced plans to retire from the show, which he started in 1974. (He later backtracked.)
Image: A Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor
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