New owner WGBH says the radio production house will stay an independently run, tax-exempt nonprofit.
Minneapolis-based Public Radio International has been purchased by Boston public media station WGBH, the producer of such marquee PBS shows as "Nova" and "Frontline." Financial details of the acquisition will not be released, both companies said. The deal might result in a small number of jobs being eliminated at PRI, which currently has about 45 employees in Minneapolis, said Julia Yager, vice president of brand management and marketing strategy at PRI.
PRI will continue to operate independently as a tax-exempt nonprofit in Minneapolis, WGBH said on Thursday.
"Joining forces with WGBH will benefit every group PRI serves, including stations, talent, producers and the public. PRI will increase its production of inspiring content, and represent a broader diversity of voices by increasing our investment in our marketing and distribution activities," said Alisa Miller, president and CEO of PRI.
The national content producer, network and service provider for public radio, PRI was founded by Minnesota Public Radio pioneer Bill Kling in 1980 and originally distributed many of MPR's shows, including "Prairie Home Companion." But the Twin Cities organizations endured a nasty split that culminated when MPR severed its distribution agreement with PRI in 2004. It now sells its shows through its own company, American Public Media.
Currently, PRI's reach includes more than 900 radio stations nationwide and digital platforms internationally. Among its best-known efforts is "This American Life."
PRI and WGBH have been partners for the past 16 years, co-producing "The World," a daily international news program, and exchanging content between "The World" and "Nova" and "Frontline," said Jeanne Hopkins, vice president of communications for WGBH.
Bob Zelnick, a former ABC News reporter who also worked at National Public Radio, said the deal makes sense. "The more resources that are at their disposal, the more complete their news programming will be," said Zelnick, now a journalism professor at Boston University.