Public Radio International

Public Radio International, or PRI, is a not-for-profit corporation based in the United States founded in 1983 to develop non-commercial audio programming for public radio and other audio venues. It is the United States' largest distributor of non-commercial radio programming. "PRI" produces or co-produces some of the programs it distributes, but most of them are produced by other entities.

PRI distributes over 400 hours of programming each week. Topics include news, classical music, and contemporary culture. Approximately 740 radio stations and other audio venues broadcast PRI programs or stream them online. According to 2002 Arbitron ratings, 15.2 million listeners hear PRI programming each week.

Although many National Public Radio (NPR) stations broadcast shows distributed by PRI, NPR and PRI are distinct, competing radio producers and distributors. Many listeners associate popular shows such as This American Life with NPR, but these shows and many more are actually distributed by PRI.

When it was founded, PRI was known as the American Public Radio Network. The corporation changed its name to Public Radio International in 1994 to reflect its growing interest and involvement in international audio publishing, and many collaborations with the BBC.

PRI programming receives funding from station fees, corporate underwriting, and individual and corporate grants. Less than 2% of PRI's operating budget comes from the US federal government.



The mission of Public Radio International is to engage listeners with distinctive radio programs that provide information, insights, and cultural experiences essential to understanding a diverse, interdependent world. (From the PRI website (

Public radio, PRI and NPR

Public radio is a generic term for radio stations or programming that is not funded by advertising—specifically commercials. It is the opposite of commercial radio, the funding setup for most radio stations in the United States.

PRI and NPR are the two largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the United States, and they compete with each other for slots on public radio stations and the attention of listeners.

Any given public radio station may be an NPR member and an affiliate of PRI simultaneously. Nationwide, about 25% of the typical public radio station's programming is produced by NPR. PRI produces about 20%, and the remaining 55% is produced by the local radio station itself.

PRI is a younger organization than NPR, which was founded 13 years earlier in 1970. Many PRI shows draw a younger overall audience than shows produced by NPR. Some listeners and critics believe that PRI programs feature a wider range of voices than NPR programs.

Radio programs distributed by PRI

See also

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