For immediate release
October 16, 2002
NPR: Jenny Lawhorn

NPR Establishes Major Production Center in California NPR West Opens November 2, Expanding Network's Presence and Reach

LOS ANGELES, CA -NPRŽ completes a major step in its expansion on November 2, 2002 with the grand opening of NPR West, its new L.A.-based multimedia production center. NPR West, a 25,000 sq. ft. creative space of offices and studios at 9909 Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City, CA is the first large-scale production center NPR has established outside of Washington, DC. NPR West will eventually accommodate up to 90 employees, including NPR's Los Angeles News bureau, the staff of The Tavis Smiley Show and other new programs.

"NPR West is the one of the most significant developments in NPR's capacity to provide programming services to stations and listeners in the past two decades," said Kevin Klose, NPR's president and CEO. "Years of thoughtful analysis, months of careful site selection and detailed facility planning have gone into NPR West. This means a huge expansion in our capacity to bring timely, comprehensive news of the West to our national newsmagazines, newscasts and cultural programming. The unique sounds and energies of this storied region and its people will be heard in lively new ways from NPR West."

NPR West will debut with a variety of special NPR News presentations on Morning EditionŽ with Bob Edwards, All Things ConsideredŽ and Talk of the NationŽ. Beginning Monday, November 11, NPR News will present two series: one on California's Central Valley and another profiling five people who in various ways exemplify the West. Talk of the Nation will air from NPR West the week of November 11 (Mon.-Thurs.), focusing on Western subjects and speaking with in-studio guests from the region. On Tuesday, November 5, Election 2002 will originate from NPR's headquarters in Washington and studios in Los Angeles for extensive, coast-to-coast, election night coverage. Weekend EditionŽ host Scott Simon and Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan will anchor the coverage live from Los Angeles. They join NPR senior national correspondent Linda Wertheimer and All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel in Washington.

In addition, Morning Edition will stage two performances of an original radio drama, "I'd Rather Eat Pants," at The Museum of Television & Radio in Los Angeles on November 1. Written by playwright and screenwriter Peter Ackerman for Morning Edition and produced by LA Theatre Works, it stars the legendary Edward Asner, comic and actress Anne Meara, Ed Begley, Jr., Richard Kind, Clea Lewis and Derek Cecil from ABC's Push, Nevada. The five-act radio comedy, directed by noted Broadway director Gordon Hunt, is a hilarious story of an elderly couple's trek from New York to Los Angeles-on a young slacker's motorcycle-to find fame, fortune and a whole lot more. NPR personalities Susan Stamberg and Bob Edwards also have roles. "I'd Rather Eat Pants" will be broadcast in five segments on Morning Edition the week of December 16.

As NPR's second-largest facility, NPR West will also provide backup to the network, which produces, acquires and distributes 120 hours a week of programming to stations around the U.S. "We believe in public radio and want it to continue. September 11th made it apparent in a very urgent way that we need another facility that could keep NPR going if something devastating happens in Washington," said Jay Kernis, NPR's sr. vice president for programming.

Established in 1970 with one facility in Washington, DC and less than 40 full-time staff serving 90 radio stations, NPR has become a nonprofit multimedia company employing more than 700 reporters, producers, editors, online and administrative staff. Today, NPR programming airs on 709 radio stations operated by 274 member organizations. At a time when many news companies have reduced operations, NPR News has expanded and today extends over 11 foreign and 19 domestic bureaus. Public radio has seen its audience triple over the last 15 years, and today is a source of news, music and entertainment for one in seven adults over age 25.

NPR West was made possible in part by major support from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The Ahmanson Foundation. Other foundation donors include The Ford Foundation, the Joseph Drown Foundation, and the Roth Family Foundation. The total cost for NPR to acquire and equip NPR West is nearly $13 million.

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.