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Minnesota Public Radio: A History

MPR Acquires Marketplace Productions MPR/Marketplace

MPR: An Overview
MPR History

MPR Commitment to Minnesota

MPR National Program List

Marketplace: An Overview
Marketplace History

Complete set of above documents in PDF format (Readable with the free Acrobat Reader.)
MPR's National Program Data (PDF format)
U.S. Map of MPR Programs (PDF format)

1967 - 1987

  • 1967 - Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) began in Collegeville, Minnesota, after becoming a separate operation from St. John's University.
  • 1969 - Served as incorporator and founding station for the start-up of National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington, DC.
  • 1969 - Helped to establish the Radio Talking Book, the nation's first closed-circuit reading network for the blind and vision-impaired.
  • 1974 - Began A Prairie Home Companion, one of public radio's most beloved and celebrated programs, now heard on 486 stations across the US.
  • 1980 - Became one of the nation's most successful public radio stations, producing more programs for national distribution than any other public radio station in the United States.
  • 1980 - Provided the corporate umbrella and leadership for the formation of Public Radio International (PRI).
  • 1980 - Built the most sophisticated public radio production and satellite distribution center in the United States.
  • 1980 - Became the nation's importer for news broadcasts from the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  • 1987 - Created one of the most effective corporate structures for a nonprofit organization, which diversified MPR's revenue base under the leadership of the for-profit Greenspring Company. This structure led to the creation of the highly successful Rivertown Trading Company.

1995 - Present

  • Became the most complete statewide public radio network in the United States, covering 98% of the state's geography as well as reaching bordering communities in seven states and Canadian provinces.
  • Created Classical 24, the nation's most-listened-to classical music radio source.
  • Sold Rivertown Trading Company to the Target Corporation, allowing MPR to add $85.6 million to its permanent endowment.
  • Developed the largest membership base (more than 87,000) of any public radio station in the United States.
  • Engaged the largest staff (233 employees) of any public radio station in the country. The next largest is WNYC in New York with 110 employees.
  • Developed American RadioWorks, in a partnership with National Public Radio, for one-hour-long, in-depth news specials.
  • Built an audience that represents the largest market share of any public radio station in a major market.
  • Produced the largest number of national programs for public radio.
  • Created a new nonprofit organization, Southern California Public Radio, through a lease agreement with Pasadena City College, to operate KPCC-FM in Pasadena, which serves the Los Angeles basin.
  • Acquired Marketplace Productions, producer of The Savvy Traveler, Marketplace Morning Report, and Marketplace, which is public radio's most successful business news program, with a national audience of 3.7 million weekly listeners. This gives MPR programs a total weekly listenership of approximately 7.6 million people.


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