CPB Awards $600,000 To Expand NPR's 'Code Switch' Beyond Podcast.


Plenty of podcasts have expansion plans, but NPR’s Code Switch is getting help turning those plans into reality thanks to a fresh $600,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB originally invested in NPR's signature podcast on race and identity a decade ago, and the new money will allow the show to expand its presence on the radio, through live and virtual events and on social media.


CPB President Patricia Harrison calls the show “a model of successful innovation” in public media. "We're pleased to support the expansion of its reach on radio and on multiple platforms to advance needed discussions and awareness about race and identity,” said Harrison. “This dialogue is crucial to helping us understand one another, which is the basis of a civil society."


With a $1.5 million grant from CPB to support digital and broadcast content creation in 2012, the Code Switch news team launched a blog and contributed content to NPR. A podcast was then launched in 2016. NPR has offered Code Switch as a public radio show since 2021, and it is now carried by 197 stations with more than 650,000 weekly broadcast listeners.


With the money from the two-year grant, NPR is raising the profile of the Code with new live and online events and the development of other new offerings. There will also be staff hires including the addition of a new host and a senior editor, which NPR says will allow the Code Switch team to increase its production of short, news pieces that can also air on NPR's flagship news programs like “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” It also plans to produce more longer features written and produced by influential journalists and scholars, member station contributors, and Code Switch fellows.


"We are grateful to CPB for their support of Code Switch that has allowed it to grow from blog to podcast, radio show and live events program. Code Switch's fearless conversations about race are more vital than ever now and a key part of public radio's mission to serve the American public, said NPR President/CEO John Lansing. "Thanks to this grant, the Code Switch team will be able to reach an even broader audience and become a larger forum for discussion, innovation, and thoughtful conversation."


The headlines have helped Code Switch find its audience. The show reached No. 1 on Apple's podcast chart in the wake of the George Floyd murder and protests in 2020. Code Switch was later named Apple Podcasts' first ever Show of the Year.

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