Radio Diaries

The Man Who Put the ‘P’ in NPR

Oct. 8, 2015

One of the best mission statements we’ve ever read is the original NPR mission, which was written in 1969 by Bill Siemering. Bill is an amazing guy who, at the age of 80, continues to help create radio stations and programs in developing countries around the world. The manifesto Bill wrote is no longer NPR’s official mission statement but it’s a lovely reminder of why we do this work. It’s truly worth reading.

Here at Radio Diaries we like history – including our own. So with help from the good folks at, we brought Bill into a studio because we were curious how he came to write that original mission statement, and why. We asked him to look back at the history of public media, and to imagine the future. We also asked him to read part of that original NPR mission statement.

You can also read a transcript of our conversation at, thanks to Jay Allison, Sydney Lewis and Samantha Broun. If you don’t know about Transom…go there as soon as you can. It’s like a master class in radio storytelling. neither hosts nor alters podcast files. All content © its respective owners.