Public Radio International bought by Boston's WGBH

In a logo battle, we've got to give it to PRI's new owner, WGBH.
In a logo battle, we've got to give it to PRI's new owner, WGBH.

The Minneapolis-based Public Radio International (PRI) has been purchased by another titan of public media, WGBH in Boston.

This means that the company now claims popular radio shows "This American Life" -- as well as a wealth of niche music offerings like "Afropop Worldwide," "The Record Shelf," Jon Schaefer's "Soundcheck," "Riverwalk Jazz," "Jazz After Hours," and "Echoes" -- among its holdings. Widely known for putting out PBS shows including "Nova," and "Frontline."

According to The New York Times, PRI will remain independent under the deal -- but there's already talk of sharing programming and collaborating on new work. The agreement comes after PRI carried a $2 million operating deficit on $23.7 million in revenue in its last fiscal year and lost rights to the BBC's "World Service." Of the 45 employees in Minneapolis, there are expected to be some layoffs.

Originally founded in 1980 by Minnesota Public Radio's Bill Kling, PRI was originally a distributor for popular programs like "A Prairie Home Companion." That is, until 2004 when MPR decided to cut the middleman and distribute their own radio wares.

"Despite the genteel face everyone likes to put on things in public broadcasting, this is a smart, hardball move by WGBH in its ongoing campaign to catch and overtake WBUR in local radio," says Boston Globe columnist Joel Brown. "One might almost say cutthroat, but public broadcasting people only use such words when talking about, you know, Somali pirates."

For more on this, check out PRI's announcement on the merger here.

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