September 11, 2007
Andi Sporkin, NPR
Lucy Sholley, WGBH


September 11, 2007; New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston – Public media companies NPR and WGBH Boston today announced they have made an offer to acquire National Public Broadcasting, LLC (NPB), the leading multi-market sponsorship representative for public television and radio stations.

The offer has been accepted in principle by Williams Communications, Inc., majority owner of NPB.

Combining NPB with NPR Corporate Sponsorship, NPR and WGBH will form a new independent non-profit company to represent sponsorship across all media for public broadcasting. This new entity will become the largest and most comprehensive representative for national and local public radio, television and multimedia.

Robert Williams, who founded NPB in 1997 with his partner Linda Williams and has served as its Chief Executive Officer, will retain that role with the new company. Ken Stern, Chief Executive Officer of NPR, will additionally assume the Chairmanship of the Board of this new entity; Jonathan Abbott, Chief Operating Officer and President-Elect of WGBH, will also serve on the new Board.

Williams said, “Every company founder wants to see his company succeed longterm, and this is the best outcome we could have imagined. We are delighted that these two powerful institutions have chosen to make NPB a central strategic asset for an expansion of the sponsorship efforts of the public broadcasting community. What we at NPB have worked to accomplish in the last decade will now serve as the foundation for this new organization and its wide-ranging plans.”

“This new organization will enable us to better communicate the value, and values, of public broadcasting to the corporate community,” said Stern. “Public radio and television hold a critical role in American life, and our rapidly-growing audiences trust and support the companies that support our public service mission. With the rapid growth of audience throughout public broadcasting and the expansion of media platforms we serve, this new organization will provide greater resources to fully, actively represent our shared assets.”

According to Abbott, “As the multimedia landscape evolves, WGBH sees this new company as a critical resource to helping public media grow at both the local and national levels. WGBH has been involved with NPB since its inception, and believes in the potential of the NPB team to continue to be essential to public broadcasting.”

The transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of October, will provide the nucleus of the new company that will represent all areas of public media for sponsorship. This includes all NPR programming – including Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Fresh Air – and, multi-market sponsorship for 60 television stations and 120 radio stations, national sponsorship of “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,”, the National Public Broadcasting interactive (NPBi) and network representation of local station websites.

Williams will continue as CEO of the new organization with NPB executives Don Ershow and Carl Mathis, and NPR executives Blake Truitt and Scott Davis, as the senior management team.

About NPB

NPB was originally founded in September 1997 as National Public Television (NPTV) as a national sales organization positioning public broadcasting underwriting as an alternative to advertising on commercial television and radio. It was formed by Williams Communications, Inc.; WNET New York; KCET Los Angeles; WTTW Chicago; WHYY Philadelphia; KQED San Francisco; WGBH Boston; KERA Dallas; WETA Washington, DC; WTVS Detroit; KCTS Seattle, and ABRY Partners, LLC, Boston. In 1999, the company added public radio representation and changed its name to National Public Broadcasting (NPB). It was the first to organize individual public broadcasting markets into national buys and invested in the research and software systems needed to execute the multi-market business. In January 2006, the company launched National Public Broadcasting Interactive (NPBi) and signed to a representation agreement. The company also launched and operates a network of station websites and supports the training and traffic for stations on the NPBi network. More information about NPB is available at

About NPR

Since its launch in 1970, NPR has evolved into a leading multimedia company, award-winning primary news provider and dominant force in American life. NPR produces and/or distributes more than 1300 hours of programming weekly. This includes more than 150 hours of news, information, talk, entertainment and cultural shows for the 800-plus NPR Member stations around the country, attracting 26.5 million listeners weekly. NPR also programs two 24/7 channels for Sirius satellite radio and five 24/7 music multicast channels for digital HD Radio, having served as an industry leader in HD research and development; additionally it produces nearly 90 podcasts, making it the biggest podcaster among American media companies. Its 24/7 NPR Worldwide program stream reaches listeners in more than 100 countries. offers extensive original video and audio content, hourly newscasts, concerts and free audio streaming of current and archived NPR programs. NPR’s continuing expansion in digital media includes NPR Mobile, in partnership with public radio stations.

About WGBH Boston

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup, along with some of public television's best-known lifestyle shows and children's programs and many public radio favorites. Its production menu is diverse, including Nova, Frontline, American Experience, Antiques Roadshow, Masterpiece Theatre, Arthur and Curious George on PBS and The World and Sound & Spirit on public radio. WGBH is the number one producer of websites on, one of the most trafficked dot-org websites in the world. WGBH is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who rely on captioning or video descriptions. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a special institutional Peabody Award for 50 years of excellence. For more information visit

EDITORS’ NOTE: Logos, executive headshots and programming art for NPB, NPR and WGBH available; please contact Andi Sporkin