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NPR Will Bring News Quiz to Movie Theaters

Also launches ad campaign to grow audience

Multimedia news organization NPR’s news quiz show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” brings its star power to the big screen for a special live performance in select cinemas nationwide, on Thursday, May 2 at 8 p.m. (ET)/7 p.m. (CT), tape-delayed to 7 p.m. (MT)/8 p.m. (PT) Select theaters will present an encore May 7, at 7:30 p.m. (local time). Host Peter Sagal, as well as judge and scorekeeper Carl Kasell, will lead the cinecast from the New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

For this stage adaptation of the weekly radio show, Sagal and Kasell will quiz panelists — Paula Poundstone, Mo Rocca and Tom Bodett — special guests and listener contestants through a review of the week’s news.

Tickets for “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! — Live” are available at presenting theater box offices and also at Fathom Events, where there is a complete list of theaters and prices (theaters and participants are subject to change). Presented by NCM Fathom Events, NPR, WBEZ(FM), Chicago and BY Experience, the event will be broadcast to more than 600 select movie theaters across the country through NCM’s Digital Broadcast Network.

“We’ve always wanted to do our show all over the country, simultaneously, and finally turned to this idea of a nationwide simulcast when our experiments in cloning didn’t come out as well as we hoped,” said host Peter Sagal.

Now in its 15th season, the Peabody Award-winning “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” has a weekly audience of more than 3.2 million listeners on approximately 630 NPR member public radio stations. To find local stations and broadcast times or get the free podcast, visit here.

NPR is also launching an integrated advertising campaign in four markets this month to drive visibility and grow the number of listeners who tune in to NPR programming on public radio stations. It is funded by a $750,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. This is the first effort of its kind in the organization’s history, and the three-month campaign aims to grow the pilot stations’ weekly radio audience and to draw more listeners. 

“While 34 million people tune into NPR stations every week, research has shown that there are millions more who are likely to appreciate NPR programming,” said Emma Carrasco, NPR’s chief marketing officer. “These potential listeners want to hear stories about what is going on around the world and across the nation from journalists they can trust, and they want to understand a variety of perspectives. This campaign draws attention to the unique option that NPR provides.”

Billboards, rail, print and digital ads are currently running or will soon run in the markets for KERA(FM), Dallas/Fort Worth, WFYI(FM), Indianapolis; WMFE(FM), Orlando, Fla.; and KPBS(FM) in San Diego. TV spots and more social media will also be added to the campaign later. 

NPR selected Baltimore-based Planit, a branding and communications agency, to develop the strategy; they identified adults 25–44 with at least some college education, who reside or work in the listening area of the stations as the target market.

The campaign features messages about who listens to NPR. Each ad includes the station call letters and frequency and the website, where listeners can pick their “RadioType” and stream programming.