NPR, WGBH Join to Acquire Sponsorship Rep Firm NPB

Sep 11, 2007  •  Post A Comment

National Public Radio and public broadcasting powerhouse WGBH-TV in Boston plan to acquire National Public Broadcasting LLC, which lines up sponsorships on public TV and radio stations and digital properties in multiple markets. No financial terms were disclosed in the announcement Tuesday from NPR and WGBH.
The deal will result in NPB evolving from the leading for-profit rep firm in the public broadcasting arena into a not-for-profit operation that represents its owners and a wide array of other public media entities on commission.
Williams Communications, the majority owner of NPB, accepted the offer in principle.
According to the announcement, the transaction is expected to be completed by the end of October.
The new company will represent all areas of public media for sponsorship, including all NPR programming and NPR.org; multimarket sponsorship for 60 television stations and 120 radio stations; national sponsorship of “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer”; PBS.org; National Public Broadcasting Interactive (NPBi); and network representation of local station Web sites.
Continuing as CEO of NPB will be Robert Williams. Mr. Williams founded the operation in 1997 with partner Linda Williams, and with Top 10 market public TV stations WNET-TV in New York; KCET-TV in Los Angeles; WTTW-TV in Chicago; WHYY-TV in Philadelphia; KQED-TV in San Francisco; WGBH in Boston; KERA-TV in Dallas; WETA-TV in Washington, D.C.; WTVS-TV in Detroit; KCTS-TV in Seattle; and ABRY Partners, Boston.
In 1999, the company added public radio representation and changed its name to National Public Broadcasting. In January 2006, the company launched National Public Broadcasting Interactive (NPBi) and signed PBS.org to a representation agreement. The company also launched and operates a network of station Web sites and supports the training and traffic for stations on the NPBi network.
NPR and WGBH will buy out the other partner stations, who will be able to continue as clients of NPB.
NPR CEO Ken Stern will serve as chairman of the board of the new NPB. Jonathan Abbott, chief operating officer and president-elect of WGBH, will serve on the NPB board.
“We are delighted that these two powerful institutions have chosen to make NPB a central strategic asset for an expansion of the sponsorship efforts of the public broadcasting community,” Mr. Williams said in the announcement. “What we at NPB have worked to accomplish in the last decade will now serve as the foundation for this new organization and its wide-ranging plans.”
“This new organization will enable us to better communicate the value, and values, of public broadcasting to the corporate community,” Mr. Stern said.
“As the multimedia landscape evolves, WGBH sees this new company as a critical resource to helping public media grow at both the local and national levels,” Mr. Abbott said.
(Editor: Horowitz)


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