February 18, 2010
Danielle Deabler, NPR
MOODY'S ASSIGNS Aa3 STANDARD & POORS ASSIGNS AA-
Bond will Fund Construction of New HQ
NPR sought the ratings as a prerequisite to pursing a tax-exempt municipal bond to fund, in part, the construction of its new headquarters at 1111 North Capitol Street, which will serve as an anchor in the redevelopment of the rapidly growing NOMA district of Washington, D.C. The bond issuance is expected to go forward this spring.
"NPR and our Member stations are uniquely positioned to adapt and grow amidst a rapidly changing media landscape, and to serve the news and information needs of the American public with fact-based, compelling journalism. We are delighted that both ratings agencies concluded that NPR is a high investment grade organization," said Vivian Schiller, President and CEO of NPR.
Standard & Poor's cited "NPR's strong brand name and virtually sole source, market share in public radio news and substantial market share in other public radio programming, with 12.5% of the U.S. population aged 12 and over recorded as public radio listeners" as a credit characteristic reflecting the AA- rating.
Moody's High Profile Rating Update noted that "NPR's programming reaches an audience of 26.4 million radio listeners weekly. In addition, NPR.org serves about 11 million visitors a month on its web and mobile platforms, and generates nearly 15 million podcast downloads each month." They also cited NPR’s trends: "NPR's audience continues to experience impressive growth, outperforming broader media trends."
Reflecting on NPR's financial performance, "Moody's anticipates that NPR will continue to generate favorable operating performance given its relatively diverse revenue sources, cost management efforts, and fiscal stewardship." Standard & Poor's said: "NPR financial operations are characterized by significant revenue diversity, a high level of budgetary flexibility, and historically good financial performance."
About the new NPR headquarters:
The new headquarters is designed to reflect NPR's emergence as a major multimedia organization. Its design will integrate the façade and about two-thirds of the floor area of an existing, historic, four-story warehouse into a new, light-filled, seven-story 330,000 square foot office building. At the heart of the building is a 100,000+ square foot open-concept newsroom to serve the needs of nearly 400 journalists, radio and web producers and multimedia specialists. The building will contain workspace that encourages collaboration among NPR’s work groups and will support the creativity of NPR’s employees. Designed to be certified LEED Gold, the project will incorporate recycled and sustainable materials, green technologies, and provide for the efficient use of resources and energy. The lobby area of the building will feature public space, including an area for exhibits and a studio for live shows and events.
The project architect is Hickok Cole Architects, and Boston Properties is the development manager. Ground-breaking is expected in fall of 2010, and the building is scheduled to be completed and occupied in June 2013.