NPR embarks on mission to attract audience with PR

WASHINGTON, DC: National Public Radio is planning to give a face to the Morning Edition's Jean Cochran and Bob Edwards, for the millions of listeners who wake up with their voices each morning.

WASHINGTON, DC: National Public Radio is planning to give a face to the Morning Edition's Jean Cochran and Bob Edwards, for the millions of listeners who wake up with their voices each morning.

WASHINGTON, DC: National Public Radio is planning to give a face to the Morning Edition's Jean Cochran and Bob Edwards, for the millions of listeners who wake up with their voices each morning.

The station has promoted its PR chief and plans to look for agencies to help with the campaigns.

The national network, which reaches around 15 million listeners a week, and headed up by Kevin Klose, is planning a PR push to make its anchors more widely known. It wants to attract a more diverse audience and emphasize its intellectual offering.

A significant chunk of NPR's dollars 1.5 million marketing spend is dedicated to PR.

The network currently works with Omnicom agency Ketchum, but has a budget to add additional PR firms over the next year.

Overseeing the renewed PR effort is Celeste James, who stepped up to become VP of corporate communications in late September, after joining the organization in February 2000 as director of communications and brand management. She now heads 17 staff working in media relations, creative services and station communications.

'We will work with outside agencies,' James said. 'One thing I'll oversee is our efforts to reach diverse audiences. We need more visibility for our personalities, new faces and our NPR 2 satellite radio.'

James was previously with US News & World Report and USA Today in PR roles. She replaces Cheryle Robinson, who has relocated to Chicago.

NPR's PR focus this year has been its Changing Face of America series.

The series looks at various facets of American society - from how the elderly live to healthcare issues and how technology is changing lives.

NPR is also considering hiring an agency to help organize a 30th birthday celebration for flagship show All Things Considered in May 2001.



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