Todd Huffman

NPR forbids promoting in-house podcasts on the air

That doesn't seem right.


Molly Stier


Posted on Mar 24, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 1:15 am CDT

Apparently National Public Radio can do all but explicitly endorse its own podcasts.

Hosts can’t promote the broadcaster’s popular, widely ranged podcasts or its app NPR One, according to the ethics guidelines written by Vice President for News Programming and Operations Chris Turpin. The logic comes from the fact that local station managers—people who financially sustain NPR—are members of its board. 

Turpin writes:

– Informational, not Promotional: When referring to podcasts, and the people who host, produce, or contribute to them, we will mention the name of the podcast but not in a way that explicitly endorses it. References should not specifically promote the content of the podcast (e.g., “This week, the Politics Podcast team digs into delegate math.”) If you feel a podcast title needs explaining (e.g. Hidden Brain), some additional language can be added (e.g., “That’s Shankar Vedantam, he hosts a podcast that explores the unseen patterns of human behavior. It’s called, Hidden Brain” ). Just to repeat: Be creative in how you back announce podcasts, but please avoid outright promotion. 

What this conflict represents is the decades-long battle between old media and new. As podcasts move in, live radio shows are moving out. In this counterintuitive move, NPR is trying to respect its member stations. 

But sometimes it makes more sense to just get with the times. 

H/T Niemanlab | Photo via Todd Huffman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Mar 24, 2016, 6:16 pm CDT