Today in Media History: NPR began 45 years ago

February 26, 2015
Category: Uncategorized

45 years ago today, on February 26, 1970, the National Public Radio articles of incorporation were issued and NPR officially began.

However, it would be another year before the first NPR sound came out of a radio.

Here is how the Wisconsin newspaper, the Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter, described NPR in September 1970:

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An excerpt from NPR’s “Overview and History” page:

“NPR was incorporated on February 26, 1970, by 90 forward-thinking charter stations to provide national news programming. In April 1971, NPR hit the air with live coverage of the Senate hearings on the war in Vietnam.

Just a month later, we debuted our first weekday newsmagazine, All Things Considered.

In 1977, NPR assumed a new responsibility — to represent the interests of NPR member stations (who had grown from 90 to 190) — before Congress, the FCC and others.

Our premier newsmagazine, Morning Edition, launched in 1979, signaling that NPR was becoming an all-day news service.”

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Robert Siegel said the following on All Things Considered’s 35th anniversary:

“You would’ve heard it all on a brand new radio program that made its debut on May 3, 1971. It was conceived and named by a fellow called Bill Siemering, hosted by Robert Connelly, and directed that day by a young woman named Linda Wertheimer. One of the tape editors was Susan Stamberg. The show was called All Things Considered.

….thanks for making All Things Considered what it has been over all these 35 years. And thanks to all of you for listening.”

‘All Things Considered’ Turns 35
NPR, May 3, 2006

Susan Stamberg on the beginning of ATC:

“As NPR’s Susan Stamberg says of the show, which she co-hosted for 14 years in the ’70s and ’80s, ‘when we started, there was war in Vietnam, demonstrations against that war, the voting age was lowered to 18, the Beatles had broken up and in the air — as well as on our air in the early ’70s — a sweetly notable absence of irony.'”

— “Happy 40th To ‘All Things Considered’
NPR, May 3, 2011

Finally, here is a 2009 video with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon. It reminds us how NPR’s 45-year history links journalism’s past and future.

Watch as NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr, who once worked with Edward R. Murrow, learns about Twitter.