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Podcasts Are Saving NPR: For the first time in 6 years it is on track to break even financially.


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FOR THE FIRST time in six years, National Public Radio, better known as NPR, is on track to break even financially thanks in part to the rising popularity of podcasts. 

While the nonprofit’s stations are primarily dependent on federal funding, corporate sponsorship, and individual donations to stay on the air, the company has suffered from deficits and leadership changes in the past few years, leading to cutbacks and layoffs of its talented staff. But not this year. Along with some steps to reduce costs and develop new strategies, the Internet is helping to save the radio star.

NPR president and CEO Jarl Mohn first shared the news with The Associated Press. A longtime radio and TV executive, Mohn told the AP that podcasts are attracting younger listeners to the network, but not because it’s altering its message—just its medium.

“We don’t have to change the essence of who we are to get a younger audience. We just need to tell great stories,” Mohn told the AP.

This is a pretty big deal—NPR, founded in 1970, stands as one of the great American symbols of old media, along with network television and print newspapers. But even as new media upstarts have rapidly accumulated millions of dollars in venture capital to “disrupt” those stodgy incumbents, NPR has held steady, making inroads with  younger audiences and new revenue opportunities. For NPR, evolving with listeners’ changing choice of platform has allowed the company not just to adapt to the new digital media era, but to thrive, at least for now.

It's all about telling great stories. But it's awesome that the podcast model works for them.

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