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A Statement from SPR General Manager Cary Boyce on Twitter

Dear Listeners and Friends,

Twitter has labeled NPR’s official twitter account as “state-affiliated media.” This designation is usually given to government-controlled media outlets—which NPR is not—and neither is Spokane Public Radio (SPR), despite Mr Musk’s inference to the contrary. There has been considerable discussion about this among public radio managers. I borrow these comments from Rima Dael, GM at WSHU and an NPR Board Member. She says:

“In response to this news, and speculation on why Twitter is doing this, I offer the following facts:

“NPR (National Public Radio) is a nonprofit media organization that produces and distributes news and cultural programming to a network of over 1,000 public radio stations in the United States. While NPR provides programming to these stations, each station is independently owned and operated, and has editorial control over the programming it airs.

“The best way to verify that National Public Radio (NPR) is not state-run media is to examine its funding, governance structure and editorial independence.

“Firstly, NPR is not directly funded by the U.S. government, although it does receive some funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 to promote public broadcasting. However, this funding only accounts for a small portion of NPR's total budget, and NPR is required by law to maintain editorial independence from the CPB and any other government entity.

“Secondly, NPR is governed by a Board of Directors, which is composed of NPR member station managers, journalists, and representatives from the public, who oversee the organization's operations and make strategic decisions. This board is responsible for ensuring that NPR adheres to its mission of providing high-quality, independent journalism and programming.

“Finally, NPR's editorial independence is further protected by its code of ethics, which outlines the principles and standards that guide its reporting and programming. NPR journalists are expected to maintain their independence and objectivity, and they are not subject to editorial direction or pressure from any outside sources. NPR's funding sources, governance structure, and

commitment to editorial independence all provide evidence that NPR is not state-run media, but rather an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to providing high-quality journalism and programming to the public.

Cary here again: Some NPR-affiliated stations do receive some funding from NPR, but that’s far from usual. In SPR’s case, for example, we pay NPR about $260,000/year (more than $1MM every four years) for the national news programs we air. We also pay annual dues to American Public Media and other distributors to broadcast a variety of national and international programs such as the BBC. SPR’s diverse revenue stream helps to ensure that we are not beholden to any one particular interest.

Spokane Public Radio is an independent, community public radio station funded primarily by listener contributions. (And Thank You!) For the foreseeable future, we plan to keep it that way. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires public media stations like SPR to operate in the public interest and to meet certain standards for this with openness and accountability. SPR and NPR stand for journalistic integrity, offering our listeners facts and context in our news, as well as music, entertainment, and dare I say enlightenment. As for what we do and how we do it, I point to the NPR ethics handbook ( as well as SPR’s own mission, values, and vision:

Mission: To provide high-quality artistic, educational, and informational programming that enhances and enlivens the cultural life and civic discourse of its listening communities. Values: We trust the ability of our listeners to discern between competing ideas. We endeavor to promote and maintain the highest level of journalistic excellence. We actively participate in the cultural life of our listening communities. Vision: SPR Strives to: Inspire, Inform, and Enlighten; Strengthen and Connect Our Communities; Grow and adapt to serve people where they live and listen.

These are worthy goals, and ones we are proud to hold ourselves to. Ms Dael sums it up: “Truth, accountability, increasing civic participation for democracy, and bearing witness are the journalistic principles that [we] stand on.” We at SPR would agree. Like public radio stations across the country, we DON’T tell our listeners what and how to think, and leave it to listeners to decide for themselves what is true and correct—based on facts, not opinion and bloviation. To have NPR labeled as “state-affiliated media,”—and by association, SPR with it—is simply outrageous and demonstrably untrue.

If NPR or SPR make a mistake, we acknowledge and correct it as soon as possible. It begs the question: Do Twitter and certain other large commercial “news” agencies recently appearing in court make the same effort? Weigh the evidence, and then decide.

Dr. Cary Boyce, President and GM, Spokane Public Radio