January 15, 2009
Anna Christopher, NPR




NPR To Provide Complete
Inauguration Coverage on January 20,
Capturing World’s Reaction from D.C.,
U.S. and International Cities

January 15, 2009; Washington, D.C. – NPR will be the only radio broadcaster of “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at The Lincoln Memorial,” the opening celebration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural, live on Sunday, January 18. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be offered by NPR to public radio stations nationwide, and be available as a simultaneous stream at the Web sites of many stations. NPR’s special will air from 2:00-5:00PM (ET), with the official celebration scheduled to begin live at 2:30PM (ET). For information about the broadcast and updates about local stations airing “We Are One,” visit: www.NPR.org/weareone

NPR will present the entire event, which is set to include musical performances by the biggest names in the industry, and historical readings from actors and notable Americans. President-elect Barack Obama is scheduled to participate in the event; both his family and the family of Vice President-elect Joseph Biden will attend, joining an audience of potentially 750,000. “We Are One” is being televised by HBO, and produced by The Stevens Company in association with Don Mischer Productions. Lisa Simeone, host of NPR’s World of Opera, will anchor NPR’s simulcast of the special.

“We’re thrilled to bring such a historic event to millions of music fans on public radio stations across the country,” said NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller. “It’s a perfect opportunity for NPR Music to connect those listeners with the artists they love.”

“We are very pleased to be working with NPR to bring the Inaugural Opening Celebration to listeners across the country. We invite all Americans to tune in and be a part of the most open and accessible Inauguration in history,” said PIC Spokesperson Brent Colburn.

Musical performers scheduled for “We Are One” include Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Jennifer Nettles, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am and Stevie Wonder. Among those reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington. The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson will give the invocation. Rob Mathes will be the music director and arranger for the backing band, which will support all of the artists. Additional performers will be announced by the Presidential Inaugural Committee as they are confirmed.

In announcing the details for “We Are One,” the Presidential Inaugural Committee called the event: “a declaration of common purpose and new beginnings. The Sunday afternoon performance will be grounded in history and brought to life with entertainment that relates to the themes that shaped Barack Obama and which will be the hallmarks of his administration.” More information about “We Are One” is available at: www.pic2009.org

On Inauguration Day, NPR News is offering six hours of special broadcast and webcast coverage from 10:00AM to 4:00PM (ET), in addition to its regular programming beginning with Morning Edition at 5:00AM (ET). NPR will carry full, uninterrupted coverage of the Inauguration Ceremonies and President-elect Obama’s Inaugural Address, and have highlights from the parade as it passes the reviewing stand at Pennsylvania Avenue. NPR is uniquely positioned to hear from dozens of reporters covering the events live, peppered throughout the crowds in D.C.; at events in Harlem, Chicago and Birmingham; and around the world in Baghdad, Kabul and Kenya.

All inauguration coverage will air on NPR Member stations nationwide, and will also be streamed free and live from www.NPR.org, and from the Web sites of many stations. NPR.org continues to be a primary destination on Inauguration Day, with original blogging, chats, a live video stream of the swearing-in ceremony and user-generated content via Twitter and other social media resources. Complete details about NPR’s inauguration coverage are available at: www.npr.org/about/press/2009/010909.inauguration.html

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR produces and distributes hundreds of hours of news, information, talk, entertainment and cultural shows each week, and serves a growing audience of 26.4 million listeners each week via more than 880 independent public radio stations. NPR.org offers extensive original audio, video, photography and text content, as well as nearly 15 years of NPR programming archives. NPR Music, launched in November 2007 as a free music discovery destination, spans all music genres with original concerts, interviews, blogs, features and exclusive first listens to albums – including Bruce Springsteen’s Working on a Dream on January 19 at 11:59PM (ET). NPR’s continuing expansion in digital media includes NPR Mobile, NPR’s Open API and the NPR Community.