Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


McNewsFilter
November 6, 2003 8:24 AM   Subscribe

McNewsFilter... National Public Radio is announcing today the largest donation in its history, a cash bequest from the will of the late philanthropist Joan Kroc of McDonalds of well over $200 million.
posted by bluedaniel (47 comments total)

 
And....... ?
posted by xmutex at 8:38 AM on November 6, 2003


... And it's great news. According to the article that's twice NPR's yearly budget. NPR puts on great stuff, and as Garrison Keeler says, "there's no money in radio." Almost makes me what to eat at mcdonalds. almost. ;-)
posted by woil at 8:42 AM on November 6, 2003


One of the well known gripes the Republicans have is that the Govt should not fund NPR, indeed that NPR is a Democratic liberal wasteland that Bush and Co would love to abolish entirely so this is a nice show of support for "the peoples" radio station.
posted by stbalbach at 8:44 AM on November 6, 2003


Cool. Can they stop doing the pledge breaks now?

This is indeed good news. I'm sure someone, somehow, will come up with a reason why this is evil because, you know, McDonalds is a large corporation and large corporations are evil.
posted by bondcliff at 8:46 AM on November 6, 2003


More McMacGiveAwayNews: McDonalds is going to give away one billion iTunes Music Store songs.
posted by alms at 8:48 AM on November 6, 2003


I was going to write more xmutex, but I thought much what I could add might be redundant. Next time I'll be more careful on content amount.

This story is still in our pipelines at work currently (at NPR), but has made the cover at the WP and is to be announced throughout the day.

Here is a copy of the announcement we all received...

(NPR President) Kevin Klose announced today that NPR has received the largest major gift ever received by a U.S. cultural organization. The recently deceased Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald's hamburger czar Ray Kroc, has left NPR a major gift of approximately $230 million! Member station KPBS, San Diego, Mrs. Kroc's hometown station, also received a $5 million gift. As you might imagine, NPR and KPBS are ecstatic. NPR's gift will be invested and a portion of the annual interest will fund several to-be-determined NPR initiatives and tasks.

I might add, this is also the largest gift that public broadcasting--both television and radio--has ever received.

This gift recognizes the importance of public radio to America and the important role that public radio stations serve in our respective communities. I am hopeful that this extraordinary gift will signal other potential funders that public broadcasting, especially public radio, is worthy of significant major gift consideration.

Congratulations to NPR and the team that provided all of the information which convinced Mrs. Kroc that this was one of the better places to leave her assets.

P.S. With the addition of this gift, NPR's investment portfolio now totals $300 million!
posted by bluedaniel at 8:50 AM on November 6, 2003


Finally some good news. I can certainly use it. That money benefits all of us.
posted by donfactor at 8:53 AM on November 6, 2003


If I remember correctly, Mrs. Kroc was also pretty generous to the people of Grand Forks when they had their apocalyptic fire/flood thing a few years ago.
posted by COBRA! at 8:59 AM on November 6, 2003


It'd be nice if NPR used this windfall to shed their dependance on corporate sponsorships. Drop those and I'll pull out my checkbook too.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:00 AM on November 6, 2003


Maybe they can get Carl Castle some new dentures. Congrats NPR, don't blow it all on shiny new microphones.
posted by Outlawyr at 9:01 AM on November 6, 2003


I'm the first to laud NPR and slag McD's, but I'll also be first to stand up and applaud this gesture. Still won't eat there, but I'll at least think of the Krocs in a different light.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:06 AM on November 6, 2003


"It'd be nice if NPR used this windfall to shed their dependance on corporate sponsorships. Drop those and I'll pull out my checkbook too."

I understand your frustration, however there is a dependence on corporate underwriting on the Washington level and there always will be. Funds from member stations alone couldn't possibly fund all the resources necessary for programming.

Member dollars to local stations support that station and in turn provide funding for NPR direct programming. Those local stations also count on corporate underwriting. Less than 50% of all public radio support come from members, the remainder being corporate support, grants and endowments.

Top and bottom hour news always have a support spot, very quick, very to the point, not a commercial, simply an acknowlegment of support.
posted by bluedaniel at 9:11 AM on November 6, 2003


$300 million invested at an average lifetime return of %5 (assume conservative investments) is $15 million a year (tax free we assume) minus some for inflation and expenses.. that comes to about a %10 increase in the yearly revenues of around $100m. Not bad, not incredible but sure does give them a solid financial base to work with. So figure a %10 to %20 increase in goodness from NPR.

I guess all those pledge drives really got to her.
posted by stbalbach at 9:11 AM on November 6, 2003


Woo hoo! Death to pledge drives!
posted by mathowie at 9:18 AM on November 6, 2003


Big Macs all around! Bravo Joan.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:18 AM on November 6, 2003


That's great! Hopefully NPR will see fit to pass some of that money down to local stations that are struggling.
posted by me3dia at 9:19 AM on November 6, 2003


I think many of you are forgetting that pledge drives don't fund NPR. They fund member stations which are required to pay for NPR programming. The only way that this would affect local pledge drives is if NPR used the endowment to offset licensing fees to member stations.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:33 AM on November 6, 2003


PrinceValium nailed it.
posted by bluedaniel at 9:36 AM on November 6, 2003


I have made 3 charitable donations in the past 5 years, and they have all been to public radio stations. That wasn't by design, necessarily, I just realized it now. I just hope that whatever they do, they use this windfall to secure their future. How long would this allow them to do away with corporate underwriting? 5 years? 10? Then what? I'd like to feel more secure that NPR is always going to be around, at the current level of quality or better, if possible. But secure the future first.
posted by scarabic at 9:43 AM on November 6, 2003


Do the people who hate the pledge drives pledge?
posted by drobot at 9:43 AM on November 6, 2003


NPR's gift will be invested and a portion of the annual interest will fund several to-be-determined NPR initiatives and tasks.

I'd bet that those "initiatives and tasks" will not include any effort to wean NPR and the country's public radio stations from government funding or listener support. They will add the funds to NPR's endowment, and spend only a modest amount of the interest on programming. Large gifts to major universities work the same way. People give money, the universities invest the money, and tuition continues to rise.
posted by Durwood at 9:44 AM on November 6, 2003


I guess that means that Eric Schlosser will never be interviewed by NPR again.
posted by ed at 9:45 AM on November 6, 2003


"Do the people who hate the pledge drives pledge?"

No one specifically likes a pledge drive. As a matter of fact, if you think it's difficult listening to one, imagine pitching one.

There is a reason we all take vacations immediately following a drive, and it's not because the Autumn foliage is ripe, or the Spring air is calling our names. It's exhausting, grueling work to go on air for several hours at a time, appealing to the listeners the value of public radio and how it needs, not wants, needs, their support to continue, quarter by quarter, year by (fiscal) year.

But in a word, yes, those that dislike pledge drives tend to support.

And if every listener pledged, fund-drives would only be required about once every 5 years or so. Only 4% of the listening audience actually pledge a donation.

Four percent.
posted by bluedaniel at 9:51 AM on November 6, 2003


How many tote bags does her estate get for a donation of $200M?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:52 AM on November 6, 2003


Do the people who hate the pledge drives pledge?

This person does.

I'm just hoping for some better talent at certain spots in the NPR News. Something like bye bye to Mara Liasson, Nina Totenburg, Scott Simon, etc. And I love Click and Clack!
posted by nofundy at 9:56 AM on November 6, 2003


"I'd bet that those "initiatives and tasks" will not include any effort to wean NPR and the country's public radio stations from government funding or listener support. They will add the funds to NPR's endowment, and spend only a modest amount of the interest on programming. Large gifts to major universities work the same way. People give money, the universities invest the money, and tuition continues to rise."

If you weaned public support, you'd wean the station off the air.

Less than 50% of public radio funding comes from member support, and only 4% of the listening audience contribute to their local stations.

Yes, the Kroc bequest will add to the endowment, and it is that endowment that provides the funding for programming.

If NPR and public radio weaned public support, then it would define commercial radio, with 22 minutes of commercials and 38 of content per hour.
posted by bluedaniel at 9:59 AM on November 6, 2003


I'd bet that those "initiatives and tasks" will not include any effort to wean NPR and the country's public radio stations from government funding or listener support.

NPR and the country's public radio stations have already been largely weaned from government funding, as everyone knows (the usual extremist right-wing nutjobs notwithstanding).
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:00 AM on November 6, 2003


I would give double the amount if I never had to listen to Katherine Lanpher ever again. Make it triple....
posted by clever sheep at 10:25 AM on November 6, 2003


Bluedaniel-

Do you think that this gift, down the line, will do anything to lower the amounts that local radio stations have to pay to run NPR programming?

Just a thought . . .
posted by Danf at 10:36 AM on November 6, 2003


That's a good question. Could it delay or lessen expenditures on a local station's behalf or broaden programming in turn as a whole.

Obviously it's too soon to know what will happen, but what those results may turn out to be specifically is a good question.

I've forwarded your inquiry to my boss and will get an answer to you.
posted by bluedaniel at 10:51 AM on November 6, 2003


Our local NPR affiliate in Nebraska has given itself a dilemma that makes it dang near impossible to listen to them for much of the year. They consider it part of their mission to give storm weather information for most of the state. To do this, they interrupt scheduled programming. Sounds great on paper, until you consider that there are several months when there is ALWAYS bad weather somewhere in the state so that the net effect is that it's futile to listen during these times.
posted by RavinDave at 11:01 AM on November 6, 2003


NPR and the country's public radio stations have already been largely weaned from government funding...

Which is why I think that NPR can and should have the courage to dump the corporate money too and become completely listener supported.

It's not hearing the support messages, Bluedaniel. I'm glad they have those as a warning to us. It's the quid pro quo.

And btw, I _do_ financially support radio that is not compromised by corporate money.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:10 AM on November 6, 2003


NPR and the country's public radio stations have already been largely weaned from government funding, as everyone knows (the usual extremist right-wing nutjobs notwithstanding).

Actually, that's not true. Actually, that's not true. According to the NPR website, public radio stations and producers will receive $86 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, whih is funded by Congress -- accounting for about fifteen percent of costs of operating local public radio stations.

So maybe we can disagree about whether $86 million dollars of funding is signficant or not. I have been a member of my station for years, and fully believe that public radio will be better off when it is competely self-supporting. Lots of reasonable people believe that...not just "right wing extremist nut jobs."
posted by Durwood at 11:12 AM on November 6, 2003


Anyone here know what gifts you get at the $200MM pledge level?
posted by milnak at 11:13 AM on November 6, 2003


will not include any effort to wean NPR and the country's public radio stations from government funding or listener support

Uh, if you take out the government funding and listener support, you don't have public radio anymore. You have commercial radio -- or no radio at all.

accounting for about fifteen percent of costs of operating local public radio stations

In what sense does "85% funded through other means" not constitute "largely weaned"?
posted by jjg at 11:44 AM on November 6, 2003


This is all George Bush's fault.

Er, wait ...
posted by moonbiter at 11:49 AM on November 6, 2003


I would give double the amount if I never had to listen to Katherine Lanpher ever again. Make it triple....
posted by clever sheep at 12:25 PM CST on November 6


I will second that motion. Although I think the scourge of Katherine is limited to Minnesota...
posted by COBRA! at 11:49 AM on November 6, 2003


the avclub did a great interview with ira glass where he talks about pledge drives, why they tend to suck, and things he's done in that regard (such as stage a jousting match and deliver pizzas).
posted by jcruelty at 1:39 PM on November 6, 2003


Anyone here know what gifts you get at the $200MM pledge level?
She willed it, some flowers, a tree & or a nice plaque, thank you.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:38 PM on November 6, 2003


An interview on TOTN today contained the following breakdown:

Anuual budget of NPR is $100million. Gift was $200million, which, put into the NPR endowment, would yield 5%, or $10million per year. That's 10% of the annual budget.

So yes, this is a huge win, but no, it doesn't mean the end of pledge drives.
posted by scarabic at 4:44 PM on November 6, 2003


And if every listener pledged, fund-drives would only be required about once every 5 years or so. Only 4% of the listening audience actually pledge a donation.

That's my point - if everybody that complained about fund drives gave instead of complaining, the drives wouldn't be as necessary. I tend to listen to something else during pledge time, but I still give money to the station. Just saying - instead of complaining about them (as a listener) - give them some money.
posted by drobot at 5:31 PM on November 6, 2003


Top and bottom hour news always have a support spot, very quick, very to the point, not a commercial, simply an acknowlegment of support.

Right, and companies give because they care about things that don't effect their profits, like a person. I'm sure you get a lot of anonymous donations from large companies.

If you're lucky enough to live in an area with Pacifica radio give it a try, and donate if you like it, they don't get money from defense companies, and actually need your help.
posted by rhyax at 10:18 PM on November 6, 2003


In other news, still no cure for cancer.
posted by oissubke at 7:05 PM on November 7, 2003


In other news, good is the enemy of perfect.
posted by Snyder at 1:27 PM on November 8, 2003


I'd like to feel more secure that NPR is always going to be around, at the current level of quality or better, if possible. But secure the future first.

Well, look at mister la-de-da responsible. Scarabic, what the nation deserves is 6 months of hardcore NPR partying and then their sudden demise in a blaze of glory, lotto style. Lobster and Cristal splashouts for every McNeal-Lehrer News Hour, a coke-crazed Linda Hunt, Carl Castle leaving his wife for Molly Ringwald AND Winona Rider. To hell with staid longevity, the people deserve spectacle.

That's the way real Ronald McDonald would have wanted it.
posted by squirrel at 1:47 PM on November 8, 2003


In other news, good is the enemy of perfect.

Not necessarily, but sometimes I wonder if we're living in a society that values "good enough" more than "great." Why just do good, when you can do better?
posted by oissubke at 1:52 PM on November 9, 2003


I think we do live in a society that values "good enough" over "great," oissubke. This has its obvious drawbacks, but also its strengths.

I used to be a perfectionist when it came to my own writing, and I credit that for having produced little during that time. And although that work may have seemed great to me at the time, hindsight is often less flattering.

Only when I committed myself to producing several mediocre documents per week did I really begin to improve. While the strenght of "great" is, well, greatness, one strength of "good enough" is that it allows us to finish a job and move on. Ayn Rand must be spinning like a lathe in her grave.
posted by squirrel at 5:57 PM on November 9, 2003


« Older This is Broken...  |  You want me to stick what, whe... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments