National Public Radio undergoes identity contraction


Nobody says Kentucky Fried Chicken these days – they say KFC. International Business Machines? Of course not, it’s IBM. Likewise, hardly anybody goes to the trouble of saying National Public Radio. And besides, it does a lot more than just radio these days. So it’s planning to simply go by its famous NPR initials.

According to a Washington Post report, the noncommercial radio stalwart is not making a big deal about the change. It hasn’t even made a public announcement about it. But WaPo says that staffers at NPR itself and at its 900 or so affiliates are being asked to use the initials when referring to the entity.

Part of the reason to de-emphasize the radio portion of the name is the fact that the service is now available on multiple media platforms, not the least of which is the internet. However, according to WaPo, there is some grumbling among affiliates that NPR’s investment in digital platforms is coming at the expense of improving the radio product.

RBR-TVBR observation: The idea that NPR should focus on radio and only on radio is misguided. Sure, a balance must be struck between on-air and on-line, but paying insufficient attention to the latter is a sure-fire way to begin the slide down the slippery slope to irrelevance. Using each to enhance the other is the way to go.