Public Radio: A History
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