LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Is There A #PubRadioVoice That Sounds Like America?

#PubRadioVoice brought together our listeners with African-American and Latino radio journalists in a discussion on whether the voices on air truly represent the "public" in public radio.

Chenjerai Kumanyika, a professor at Clemson University and aspiring public radio journalist, sparked a challenging conversation with his commentary about the "whiteness" of public radio voices. We hosted a Twitter chat about his essay and invited listeners and public radio professionals to share their thoughts using #PubRadioVoice.

Moderated by our lead blogger, Gene Demby, #PubRadioVoice explored whether the journalists on NPR truly represent the "public" in public radio.

Gene started by asking our diverse panel — professionals from across the public radio system — how listeners respond to their voices.

Many shared their perspectives on public radio diversity, whether there's a lack of voices from people of color — POC — and the ways that could affect content and audiences.

Some listeners and panelists embraced the idea of hearing a standard, broadcast vocal style but think that diversity should still be a goal. For them, diversity must go hand in hand with professionalism.

Others felt the issue goes beyond race and that public radio diversity should embrace regional, cultural and gender differences. For many, the solution begins with opening the system to new ideas and voices.

Finally, many asked where public media should go from here and how diversifying public radio could go beyond hashtags. Most agreed that adding new voices is only a part of the solution. What also matters is diversity of coverage, commentary and perspectives.

And just for fun, we asked: "What is NPR's typical voice?" Like Kumanyika's commentary mentioned, many people likened the standard vocal delivery on NPR as warm milk, tea or coffee. Some even shared pictures.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)