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Together We Thrive, Fifty Years of NPR | Mission Control Blog

NPR 50th Anniversary graphic

This week marks the 50th anniversary of NPR. The first broadcast of All Things Considered with the founding mothers (Cokie Roberts, Susan Stamberg, Nina Totenberg, and Linda Wertheimer -- at the time precedent breaking as the assumption was the news audience preferred a deep, authoritative male voice) has led to one of the largest networks of journalists in modern media. The growth over the past 50 years has been inspiring because it has been fueled by principles developed at the beginning to deliver something unique from commercial media funded by a mix of donations, grants, and business support. Read more here:  50 And Forward: An Anniversary Celebration Of NPR. Listen to How NPR Shattered The Old Model Of Broadcast Journalism.

You’ll hear various stories and interviews reflecting on NPR’s 50th anniversary during this anniversary year at 91.9 UIS. NPR Illinois joined the network as a member station and “flipped the switch” to begin broadcasting to central Illinois at the beginning of 1975. We look forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary as a service to you in 2025.

May also is an important month in sustaining what NPR Illinois delivers to the community. If you think about the classic public radio parody, more prevalent than Saturday Night Live’s Delicious Dish, it’s the “Pledge Drive.” These fundraising campaigns have evolved over the years from completely taking over all hours of the broadcast day to pitch for support to the less disruptive quiet drive of today. It’s not really quiet but we don’t interrupt regular programming.

A quick search for NPR Pledge Drive on YouTube shows how much grist for the comedy mill NPR has provided over the years. Here is a small sample:

The past year has been different than any other in our lives. COVID-19 has affected everyone. Thank you to those who have been able to continue or have increased funding to NPR Illinois. We know many other organizations have been impacted by over a year of remoteness. Listener support has allowed NPR Illinois to keep you updated on COVID developments through the work of our reporters and we’ve been able to share how others are faring through interviews on Community Voices.

Together we thrive. That’s why this drive we are asking for you to, “Donate a day.” Make a $300 donation to support NPR Illinois and we’ll provide a Day Sponsorship to the area nonprofit of your choice to share their mission with other listeners. NPR Illinois will continue to provide the companionship, information, and entertainment you value and you can help boost the voice of another organization at the same time. Instead of a tote bag, your dollars will have a greater impact. The past year has altered our funding sources so your donation is more important than ever. That’s why the goal is to secure 500 new Day Sponsorships for area nonprofits. Thank you for celebrating our community and supporting public radio in NPR’s 50th anniversary year.

Throughout the month, we’ll hear more about the missions of area nonprofits during breaks and through interviews on Community Voices at noon weekdays and 5 p.m. Saturdays. Listen to these interviews on demand at nprillinois.org.

Together We Thrive graphic

Randy Eccles is thrilled to be talking with community members and joining them in becoming informed citizenry. Please reach out at randy.eccles@nprillinois.org.
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