WASHINGTON—NPR has acquired exclusive national distribution rights to WXPN Philadelphia’s World Cafe and Conversations from the World Cafe, two of radio’s most popular, influential contemporary music shows. The agreement was announced today by WXPN and NPR.
NPR will begin distributing both programs on July 1 to more than 185 public radio stations, including WFUV New York, KCRW Santa Monica, KUT Austin, and WUMB Boston. As part of this new alliance, NPR and WXPN will also expand the World Cafe franchise throughout a variety of emerging media platforms.
World Cafe and Conversations from the World Cafe expand NPR’s cultural and arts commitment, and increase NPR’s overall schedule of diverse programming to more than 330 hours weekly. NPR’s slate of music series includes extensive classical and jazz shows as well as world music, Baroque, symphonic and Celtic.
Currently in its 15th season, World Cafe and host David Dye explore the wide-ranging world of contemporary music. Produced as a two-hour weekday program, the show features live performances and interviews with established and emerging artists from across the music spectrum, with such performers as the Mavericks, Rickie Lee Jones and the Thrills. The show’s format and tone, reflecting an intimate club setting, has attracted a loyal, music-savvy audience throughout the U.S. and the world. Conversations from the World Cafe is a weekly one-hour magazine capturing contemporary life and culture through a musical lens. The show, also hosted by Dye, has been airing for four years. Both programs were previously distributed by PRI (Public Radio International).
“NPR’s commitment to arts and culture, specifically musical discovery, combined with its incredible reach in the market, provides us with the perfect partner to further World Cafe’s goal to expose the music of significant artists to the widest possible radio audience,” said Dye. Added Roger LaMay, General Manager, WXPN, “it is truly all about the music at WXPN and World Cafe. While NPR will offer us expanded station carriage and broader public radio exposure, its leadership in the online arena as well as its strategies for every content platform will grow the established World Cafe brand in fresh new venues.”
“World Cafe is a perfect combination of a terrific host with a distinctive point of view who translates it wonderfully through all the guests and performances featured. Both shows are a perfect fit with NPR’s longtime commitment to showcasing the world of arts and culture in substantive, insightful and entertaining ways,” noted Jay Kernis, Senior Vice President for Programming, NPR. “We are very proud to bring these shows – two of the most innovative, beloved programs in the music community—to our stations, listeners and new audiences.”
NPR is as well known for its diverse music programming as it is for its award-winning news and information programming. Its music tentpoles include such programs as Performance Today, Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland and The Thistle and Shamrock. NPR has expanded its musical reach beyond radio broadcasts with its cutting-edge online music series All Songs Considered, featuring emerging artists and inspired by music segments broadcast on NPR newsmagazines, and the CD series “I Heard It on NPR,” compilations of popular triple-A, folk, jazz and roots music.
WXPN is a recognized leader in public radio and contemporary music programming. The station and its general manager Roger LaMay recently received the prestigious PRI Award for Innovation and Leadership and the Business/Arts Partnership Award from the Philadelphia Arts and Business Council. These awards recognize the innovative partnership between WXPN and a for-profit restaurant and performance venue called World Cafe Live that opened in October 2004 and is located in the same renovated historic property where the station now operates. WXPN has also long been recognized for advancements in fundraising including its long running series of music compilations culled from World Cafe performances. The station is working on its 20th Live @ the World Cafe CD for release this fall.
NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, npr.org offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.
WXPN 88.5 FM is the non-commercial, member-supported radio service of the University of Pennsylvania and the premier source for an eclectic and inspiring mix of music including rock, blues, roots, and folk. WXPN produces the nationally syndicated World Cafe®, public radio’s most popular program of popular music hosted by David Dye, and the Peabody Award winning Kids Corner hosted by Kathy O’Connell. WXPN serves the greater Philadelphia area at 88.5 FM, the Lehigh Valley at 104.9, Worton/Baltimore at 90.5 FM, Harrisburg at 88.1 FM, and the world via online streaming at www.xpn.org.