Reason #26: Northern Illinois University
NPR Member Stations like WNIJ are locally owned and operated broadcasters, but we have a variety of community partners who make what we do possible. About two-thirds of NPR member stations are licensed to, or affiliated with, a college or university. In WNIJ’s case, our license holder is Northern Illinois University.
Anne Kaplan is recently retired as NIU’s Vice President of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development and served as a bridge between university leaders and the radio station.
“The station makes great efforts to be genuinely independent, and the university makes great efforts not to impose itself on the station.”
Still, Kaplan says both institutions inherently share a common mission.
“I think both believe that whatever they're delivering should be educational. It's not commercial. It's not propaganda. It's not political. It's what the region or the territory or the audience can genuinely benefit from.”
Former Northern Public Radio General Manager Mike Lazar explains the unique relationship is mutually beneficial.
“The fact is that if it wasn't for the university, the station wouldn't be there. There is ongoing support. And I really appreciate the fact that it's a place that they can be proud of what they have. And the station staff can be proud that the roots were developed there.”