OLD Media Moves

NPR ombudsman questions sponsorship of "Planet Money"

December 14, 2009

National Public Radio ombudsman Alicia Shepard investigated the sponsorships by a financial services company of NPR’s “Planet Money” blog and show.

Shepard writes, “Ally’s relationship with NPR is a new one in an era when NPR, like other news organizations, is finding it necessary to search for new revenue streams. At NPR, sponsor credits typically run at a segment’s end on a radio show, with two or more credits lumped together.

“But in Ally’s case, the credit always comes right after a Planet Money story on Morning Edition or All Things Considered or at the beginning of a Planet Money podcast. Each Ally Bank credit thus stands out because it is the only one listeners hear at that point.

“NPR calls this arrangement a ‘special series adjacency.’ It’s been more commonly used with Story Corps., Hidden Kitchens, This I Believe and Radio Expeditions, said Blake Truitt, senior v.p., corporate sponsorship. ‘Planet Money is a special series, and Ally Bank is the sponsor of that series so they get an announcement adjacent to that story,’ said Truitt.

“Ally’s exclusive contract initially ran from May to December, but the bank re-upped and will be sponsoring Planet Money through December 2010.”

Read more here.

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