NPR will no longer distribute ‘World of Opera’ after host becomes OWS spokesperson
NPR will no longer distribute "World of Opera," after it was revealed this week that host Lisa Simeone has become a spokesperson for protests in Washington, D.C. WDAV, the North Carolina public radio station that produces the show, said Thursday that Simeone would remain as host and that her involvement in the "Occupy Wall Street" movement had violated nothing in her agreement as a freelancer with the NPR member station.
NPR's ethics code prohibits journalists from participating in marches, rallies or protests, though. NPR Spokesperson Anna Christopher said Thursday that the same ethics code applies to shows like "World of Opera."
“She’s a public person who represents NPR and public radio," Christopher told the Associated Press.
Now that NPR is no longer the show's distributor, Simeone no longer represents the news organization, which has been the focus of public and congressional attention for its journalists' political beliefs since earlier this year when Juan Williams was fired.
On Friday, NPR resolved this conflict be distancing itself from "World of Opera" and its host, as WDAV announced that it would become the show's distributor, effective November 11.
In an email message, Christopher said that through WDAV "World of Opera" would be "distributed to all the stations that air the program. We are pleased that there will be no interruption in service to stations or the audience."
WDAV marketing director Lisa Gray said by email "we have not heard from any stations about this week’s World of Opera news but hope they will be as thrilled as we are that the show will continue to be available for air."
Simeone has hosted the show, which can be heard on about 60 public radio stations, since 2002. She has a long association with public radio and was the weekend host of NPR's "All Things Considered" in 2000.
Simeone was fired from the documentary show "Soundprint" on Wednesday, after her role in the protests was reported by Roll Call, the Daily Caller and Fox News.