It may not carry much advertising, but that doesn’t mean NPR is against the idea. The highbrow radio organization is launching its first advertising campaign in four markets this month. It
hopes to increase visibility and attract more listeners for both its broadcast and online programming.
The campaign, which is scheduled to last three months, includes TV, billboards, rail transit, print and digital advertising. It will promote the local public radio station carrying NPR in each market, including KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, WFYI in Indianapolis, WMFE in Orlando, and KPBS in San Diego.
Created by Baltimore-based branding and communications agency Planit, the campaign targets adults ages 25-44 with at least some college education and is being funded by a
$750,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.
While it doesn’t rely on advertising revenue for support, NPR faces the same kind of competition from online audio as big commercial broadcast radio groups. In response, it is expanding its own digital offerings. It has also invested in making itself more locally relevant by increasing its local reporting capabilities. One initiative funded by the Knight Foundation, Project Argo, created a staff of local reporters within NPR working in 12 local markets across the country.
Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports NPR indirectly through public radio stations, has long been a favorite target of Congressional Republicans, who claim the organization has a left-wing bias. However stations which carry NPR receive about 70% of their revenues, on average, from private donors.