For immediate release
March 12, 1999

NPR® and Minnesota Public Radio® Announce New Online Network

Washington, DC --- National Public Radio® (NPR) and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) announced today an agreement to create a new online network that will provide the American public with interactive news, information, arts, and entertainment programming. The new Internet service will also help public radio stations strengthen their presence online, better serve their listeners, and attract new audiences.

The agreement between public radio's two largest content producers brings together the strengths of NPR's and Minnesota Public Radio's programming and expertise in providing interactive, personalized content for users while forging stronger partnerships within the public radio community of stations and program producers. The collaboration is expected to link the 20 million public radio listeners with service-oriented content related to their favorite programs.

The network will build upon its current broadcasts and will be a source for new content. Some programs will be expanded to continue beyond the broadcasts in an online version. Listeners will be encouraged to interact with program producers and each other, and to contribute added value in the form of new content, ideas, and and information. Listeners will also be encouraged to interact with each other. This will result in building online public radio communities and the knowledge gained from these communities will lead to new and better programming, and to new services and products.

"This collaboration will yield a unique blend of national and local content, not to be found anywhere else on the Web," says National Public Radio President Kevin Klose. "Both NPR and MPR have invested significant resources in the Internet over the past few years. Now we are pooling those resources to create the premier Internet service for the public radio audience and the American people."

Adds Bill Kling, President of Minnesota Public Radio, "The Internet is an ideal fit for the 20 million public radio listeners. They use it with greater frequency than any other predictable group. They seek in-depth information from the Web in the same way they do from public radio broadcasts. And they know more about more subjects than any other audience of its size. That's a perfect formula for a successful interactive online venture."

The new online network will generate new ways for public radio stations to use technology in partnership with NPR and MPR. Stations will be able to incorporate national and regional programming into their local Web sites, create enhanced content and services for the Internet, provide E-commerce opportunities, and expand the services offered to local audiences. At the same time, the online network will provide public radio listeners and all other Internet users with access to public radio and its diverse local, regional, and national programming, its communities of online audiences, and its program-related products. The site will incorporate other significant content partners, including The New York Times on the Web. "This collaboration is exactly what the public radio community needs to expand service to its audience and build a strong presence on the Internet. It's the type of entrepreneurship that will help secure public radio's role in the multi-media world," says NPR Foundation Trustee John F. Cooke of The Walt Disney Company.

John Rollwagen, MPR Trustee, high-tech venture capitalist and former CEO of super computer manufacturer Cray Research, spoke for the MPR Board saying, "This partnership brings together the nation's two strongest public radio entities. MPR and NPR provide public radio's strongest content with a longstanding commitment to building community support. This partnership will likely produce a wealth of content from which new public radio programs, services, and products will emerge. It's an ideal combination at this stage in the development of the Internet."

MPR and NPR will make new content, services, and tools available for public radio Web sites as testing is completed. A full presentation on the vision, concept, and core products will be presented by Kevin Klose and Bill Kling, along with NPR's and MPR's new media development teams, at the Public Radio Conference in Washington, DC, on May 14, 1999.

National Public Radio, a membership organization of 607 public radio stations nationwide, produces and distributes the award-winning programs All Things Considered®, Talk of the Nation®, Weekend Edition®, NPR's Performance Today® and CarTalk®.

Minnesota Public Radio® is a network of 30 stations serving Minnesota, northern Iowa, eastern South Dakota, eastern North Dakota, western Wisconsin, northern Michigan, and Idaho. MPR produces national programming including A Prairie Home Companion®, Sound Money®, Saint Paul Sunday®, and Classical-24®.