History Explore the history of NPR, from its roots in early American broadcasting to its current position as a leading source of trusted news and innovative storytelling everywhere you read and listen.
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History

NPR's roots go back to the earliest days of American broadcasting. Many of the country's first radio stations emerged at colleges and universities who wanted to experiment with this new medium to educate and entertain the public.

Today NPR is experiencing another era of innovation, not unlike the earliest days of radio — though much faster, and more chaotic and dynamic. The network's radio service offers a strong foundation, as NPR and its stations are actively embracing the power and potential of digital media to serve our mission.


1960s

November 7, 1967

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Yoichi Okamoto/LBJ Library hide caption

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Yoichi Okamoto/LBJ Library

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, creating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

(Read President Johnson's full remarks)


1970s

February 26, 1970

NPR is incorporated. Approximately 90 public radio stations create NPR, Inc.

April 20, 1971

NPR goes on the air with coverage of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations' hearings on the Vietnam War.

May 3, 1971

Audio is no longer available

The staff of All Things Considered celebrated the 10th anniversary of the program in 1981. NPR hide caption

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The staff of All Things Considered celebrated the 10th anniversary of the program in 1981.

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All Things Considered debuts with Robert Conley as host.

March 1, 1972

Susan Stamberg, first woman in the U.S. to anchor a national nightly news program. NPR hide caption

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Susan Stamberg becomes co-host of All Things Considered, along with Mike Waters. She is the first woman in the U.S. to anchor a national nightly news program.

October 5, 1974

Weekend All Things Considered debuts with Mike Waters as host.

1979

Robert Siegel opened NPR's first overseas bureau in London. He was posted there from 1979 to 1983. NPR hide caption

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NPR opens its first international bureau in London.

January 16, 1979

Enfoque Nacional, NPR's first Spanish-language newsmagazine, debuts with host Hector Molina.

August 30, 1979

Engineers install the first satellite transmission antenna in 1979 in Springfield, VA. NPR hide caption

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First broadcast via NPR's satellite distribution network to member station KWAX in Eugene, OR.

November 5, 1979

Morning Edition premieres, co-hosted by Bob Edwards and Barbara Hoctor.


1980s

June 20, 1980

NPR completes the first nationwide radio satellite distribution network.

November 2, 1985

Weekend Edition Saturday debuts with Scott Simon as host.

January 18, 1987

Weekend Edition Sunday debuts with Susan Stamberg as host; NPR starts providing news programming seven days a week.

May-August, 1987

NPR provides live, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Iran-Contra hearings.


1990s

October 6, 1991

Alongside a Newsday reporter, Nina Totenberg breaks the story of Anita Hill's charges of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

NPR's groundbreaking coverage is recognized with a Peabody Award.

December 13, 1993

The domain name npr.org is registered.

September, 1994

NPR officially launches npr.org.

January 1, 1996

Audio streaming debuts on npr.org.


2000s

January 2000

All Songs Considered premieres, NPR's first digital program.

September 11, 2001

NPR airs hundreds of hours of programming related to the September 11th attacks.

For its coverage enabling audiences to be informed, to mourn and to reflect during and after the September 11 attacks, NPR is recognized with a Peabody Award.

September 1, 2005

Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff is asked on All Things Considered about John Burnett's reporting that thousands are stranded at the New Orleans Convention Center post-Katrina. Chertoff dismisses the reports as "rumors"; later his office calls to say the story is accurate and supplies are being sent.

August 31, 2005

NPR podcasts make their debut with a directory of 174 programs, 17 of which are NPR originals.

September 25, 2007

NPR launches a mobile website.

April 22, 2008

The first Tiny Desk Concert, featuring Laura Gibson, is held at music producer Bob Boilen's desk.

August 16, 2009

The NPR News app for iOS is released. A version of the app for Android users is unveiled later the same year.


2010s

July 28, 2014

NPR One
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NPR One app launches.

June 5, 2016

Zabihullah Tamanna (left) and David Gilkey in Afghanistan on June 2. Monika Evstatieva/NPR hide caption

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Zabihullah Tamanna (left) and David Gilkey in Afghanistan on June 2.

Monika Evstatieva/NPR

NPR photographer David Gilkey and interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna are killed in Afghanistan while on assignment.

2018

After an almost year-long NPR investigation throughout 2018 of the U.S. Department of Education's TEACH Grant program, the Department announces a plan to gives thousands of teachers with TEACH grants incorrectly converted to loans a plan to help teachers get their grants back.