the Tiny Desk @NPRMusic

Published on 1 July 2024 at 23:37

     Formally known as National Public Radio Inc., NPR formed a physical presence on the East and West Coast as the syndicator of more than 1,000 public radio stations that reached 27.3 million weekly listeners. (Kuypers, 2012 p.1) National Public Radio has served the community as a member-supported entity with its operation centers located in Washington D.C. and Culver City California. (Kuypers, 2012 p.1) By 2023, NPR, the public radio network of the United States, reached an audience of approximately 44 million supporters by way of their app, website, radio, social media, podcasts, and live events. (NPR, n.d. p.1) TheFull NPR Strategic Plan” documented that NPR was originally founded in 1970 by ninety determined public radio stations that served their communities with the content of each of their markets in mind. (National Public Radio, n.d. p.1) Bill Siemering, one of the founders, believed that the above-mentioned approach celebrated “…the human experience as infinitely varied, rather than vacuous and banal…” (National Public Radio, n.d. p.1)

     May 3, 1971, marked NPR's first live-air coverage of the Senate Vietnam hearing with host Robert Coloney. (NPR, n.d. p.4) This followed the previous year “…when approximately 90 public radio stations…” joined and formed NPR, Inc. (Benton, 2021 p.1) Podtrac raked National Public Radio as “…the most popular podcast publisher with over 175 million downloads and streams...” monthly. (Benton, 2021 p.2) On May 3, 2021, NPR celebrated 50 years on air. (Thompson, 2021 p.1) Over the years, NPR also cultivated an outlet for many musicians at some point in their careers. (National Public Radio, n.d. p.1-12) In 1989, 6-time Grammy award-winning Ruth Brown of Portsmouth Virginia, known to many as the Queen of R&B and aunt of rapper Rakim, hosted the radio program the Blues Stage for 6 years and was carried by more than 200 NPR affiliates. (Hernandez, 2015)

     The Tiny Desk, popularized for its dynamic of live performance, received international fame when it began and featured a variety of musical artists that perform live from a Tiny Desk.  I followed the Tiny Desk on the social media platform, Instagram, listed under @NPRMusic more than nine years ago.  The Tiny Desk is a great source of live music performances from variety of independent and major recording artists. The page includes artists like Usher, Rapsody, Burna Boy, Robert Glasper and one of my personal friends and former classmates from Norfolk State’s music department, Bee Boisseau, who has played piano alongside other great musicians like Glasper, Lauren Hill, & Donnel Jones, to name a few. Trust me, the page is definitely worth the social media follow!

     In January 2024, NPR introduced Katherine Maher as the newest president and chief executive officer. (Folkenflik, 2024 p.1) She took over after the retirement of former CEO John Lansing and Jarl Mohn, named president emeritus, who boosted the ratings of NPR while under his leadership. (Folkenflik, 2024 p.5-6) Other former CEOs included names like Vivian Schiller and Ken Stern, who were both forced out of their positions at the end of their presidential run. (Folkenflik, 2008 p.1-3) However, it was documented that Stern received the largest donation in NPR history back in 2009, with a McDonalds endorsement of $200 million before he was axed as the company's CEO. (Folkenflik, 2003 p.1)

M. J. Harris

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