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Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) is a public radio network broadcasting in the U.S state of Minnesota that has been operating since 1967. It is affiliated with the National Public Radio network, but also uses content from and generates content for Public Radio International.


Minnesota Public Radio first began operating the station KSJR FM 90.1 in January, 1967 after being spun off from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. That station still operates on the St. John's campus despite having been part of MPR for over 35 years.

In 1969 and 1970, MPR assisted in formation of National Public Radio, and was a founding member of the organization. Four years later in 1974, the network began live broadcasting of Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, one of the best-known programs available on radio.

In 1980, MPR got into the network building business again and assisted in the formation of Public Radio International.

More recently, the network started working its way into California by acquiring Marketplace Productions, which produces Marketplace as well as The Savvy Traveler, in 2000. Also around that time, MPR put together Southern California Public Radio and its station KPCC based in Pasadena, California.

Broadcast Coverage

For the most part, Minnesota Public Radio behaves like two very large radio stations. At most transmitter locations, two signals are put out. One carries classical music programming, while the other carries news and other informative shows. In 2000, the group claimed to have radio coverage of 98% of Minnesota as well as some penetration into the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan as well as the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario.

As of 2003, the MPR network consists of 17 news and information stations (including one in Iowa), 17 classical stations (including one in South Dakota and one in Iowa), one mixed news/classical station in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and 17 translator stations scattered around Minnesota.


As a public radio network, MPR gets a lot of the money it needs to operate by asking for donations from the listening public. In addition, other for-profit and non-profit organizations give in exchange for small mentions of their contributions. Many of the stations in the radio network are funded by colleges in the areas they cover.

Minnesota Public Radio is also overseen by the American Public Media Group, another non-profit entity, which has the function of controlling three subsidiary companies: MPR, Southern California Public Radio, and the Greenspring Company. SCPR is a nonprofit company, but Greenspring operates for profit and generates income for the American Public Media Group. Greenspring gets its income from operating the MNN Radio Network and Minnesota Monthly Publications, which publishes the magazine Minnesota Monthly among others.

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