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Communications

NPR: What's In A Name?

It’s a debate so classic that Shakespeare wrote about it. Names, at their conceptual level, are arguably nothing more than a matter of necessary convention; we need names to help us identify people, places, things.

If you happen to follow news about NPR, you might have noticed news coverage over that past few days about a supposed name change. The Washington Post and other media outlets have published reports about it, and many blogs have added commentary.

Our legal name remains National Public Radio, as it has been for more than 40 years, but our trademarked brand has long been NPR. Several months ago, we let staff and stations know that we were making a conscious effort to consistently refer to ourselves as NPR on-air and online.

Why this decision to go by NPR rather than National Public Radio?

First of all, most of our audience – more than 27 million listeners to NPR member stations and millions more who experience our content on NPR.org and through mobile or tablet devices – identify us as NPR. When asked what they listen to, public radio fans often state quite simply “NPR.”

Secondly, this comes after years of using NPR in most cases with the occasional National Public Radio included in program credits. Generations of radio hosts are known for their own delivery of “This… is NPR.” And it still is.

We don’t have an elaborate branding campaign planned; we’re just trying to spread the word along the way. NPR or National Public Radio – by either name, we hope you think we still sound as sweet!

Dana Davis Rehm is Senior Vice President for Marketing, Communications & External Relations at NPR.

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