The best books about National Public Radio

Lisa Napoli Author Of Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR
By Lisa Napoli

The Books I Picked & Why

NPR: The Trials and Triumphs of National Public Radio

By Michael McCauley

NPR: The Trials and Triumphs of National Public Radio

Why this book?

Millions of people love and tune in to public radio every day. But how many people understand how public radio works, or how it got to where it is today? When it was first chartered in 1970, it wasn't clear NPR would work-or exactly how. For years, it struggled to find an audience—in part because of the technological limitations of the network and the emerging FM medium. McCauley interviewed early luminaries in public radio to construct this terrific look at its early years.


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Made Possible By...: The Death of Public Broadcasting in the United States

By James Ledbetter

Made Possible By...: The Death of Public Broadcasting in the United States

Why this book?

For a critical look at the financial structure of public broadcasting and its intricacies as and after it became a powerhouse, Ledbetter's book can't be beat. I just wish he'd update it! Few people understand how public radio in particular is financed. Having written a book about the great philanthropist Joan Kroc and her landmark gift to NPR when she died, I found this book particularly illuminating. Anyone who gives to the pledge drives should read this.


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Listener Supported: The Culture and History of Public Radio

By Jack W. Mitchell

Listener Supported: The Culture and History of Public Radio

Why this book?

Mitchell was the first person hired by NPR when it was first charted in 1970. He was appointed its first producer after the first initial, scattered year of production of its first news program, All Things Considered, which debuted in May, 1971. This is an excellent survey of the early years from the perch of a behind-the-scenes insider and offers to clues about how the network developed.


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Talk: NPR's Susan Stamberg Considers All Things

By Susan Stamberg

Talk: NPR's Susan Stamberg Considers All Things

Why this book?

Stamberg is a pioneer broadcaster, whom Mitchell appointed to host a nightly newscast and as someone who worked in public radio back when it was called "educational broadcasting." Read this book of annotated transcripts of some of her best interviews and see why she got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for putting public radio on the proverbial map. Bonus: Linda Wertheimer's Listening to America, derived from her years as host of ATC, and long-time Morning Edition host Bob Edwards’ memoir, A Life in the Box.


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This Is NPR: The First Forty Years

By Noah Adams, John Ydstie, Renee Montagne, Ari Shapiro, David Folkenflik, Susan Stamberg, Cokie Roberts

This Is NPR: The First Forty Years

Why this book?

NPR turns fifty this year, but this book offers a survey of its first forty years. Though it was produced by the network itself, it's relatively devoid of unbridled boosterism, and offers a fair and fun look behind the scenes of what has become a beloved and respected network heard each day by millions.


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