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NPR Board Approves Rate Hike for Member Stations

Size of the annual increases will depend on station revenue

The National Public Radio board of directors passed a resolution to increase membership dues and fees for using digital and newsmagazine content beginning fiscal year 2018 as part of a new three-year plan.

The resolution amends a February 2016 resolution that endorsed a rate increase of 3.5% for member stations on select programming fees, digital services fees and membership dues for FY2017, as well as looking into pricing models that reflect “current business and media realities, while continuing to be fair and equitable.”

The size of the annual increases will be dependent on station revenue: 4.25% ($20 million+); 4% ($10–20 million); 3.75% ($8–10 million); 3.5% ($2–8 million); 3% ($1–2 million); 1.5% ($500,000–$1 million). Stations with revenue under $500,000 will not see an increase in dues or fees. Also, all member stations will see an annual 3.5% increase in the cost of NPR’s non-newsmagazine programs.

Despite the increase income from fees and dues, the public broadcaster plans to rely less on member stations and more on “donations, grants and corporate sponsorship” going forward, according to Currents. The resolution also identified five initiatives to lay the groundwork for a future business model: “a collaborative journalism network, an NPR digital network, a digital cooperative, new digital revenue opportunities and a local/national fundraising campaign.”

However, the resolution also reflected the uncertainty of the current media climate: “The Board of Directors of NPR acknowledges that NPR may need to revisit this pricing approach before the end of FY2020 in the event of extenuating circumstances impacting the finances of the public radio system, such as substantial reductions in federal funding.”

And for anyone interested in digging more deeply into the pubcaster’s finances, check out NPR’s fiscal year 2016 audited financial statements online (PDF).

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