NPR, WGBH make push for pubcaster rep

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NEW YORK -- NPR and WGBH Boston have made an offer to acquire National Public Broadcasting, the leading multimarket sponsorship representative for public television and radio stations.

The offer has been accepted in principle by Williams Communications, the majority owner of NPB, they said.

Combining NPB with NPR Corporate Sponsorship, NPR and WGBH will form a new independent nonprofit company to represent sponsorship across all media for public broadcasting. The new entity will become the largest and most comprehensive representative for national and local public radio, television and multimedia, NPR and WGBH said.

NPB co-founder Robert Williams will retain his role as CEO. NPR chief executive Ken Stern will become chairman of the board, and WGBH president-elect and COO Jonathan Abbott also will serve on the new board. Along with Williams, NPB execs Don Ershow and Carl Mathis and NPR execs Blake Truitt and Scott Davis will make up the senior management team.

"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," Williams said.

The transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of October, will provide the nucleus of the new company that will represent all areas of public media for sponsorship. This covers all NPR programming including "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered," "Fresh Air" and NPR.org, multimarket sponsorship for 60 television stations and 120 radio stations, national sponsorship of "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," PBS.org, the National Public Broadcasting interactive and network representation of local station Web sites.

"With the rapid growth of audience throughout public broadcasting and the expansion of media platforms we serve, this new organization will provide greater resources to fully, actively represent our shared assets," Stern said.

Added Abbott, "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."
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