WASHINGTON (AP) _ Two major distributors of public radio shows such as ``All Things Considered″ and ``Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion″ are thinking about merging, their officials said Thursday.
Officials from National Public Radio based in Washington and Public Radio International of Minneapolis, Minn., confirmed that they are looking into the idea.
``It’s just in a very, very initial stage, but it is something we are looking at,″ said Judy Reese, NPR’s acting communications director.
``We have had exploratory conversations with NPR’s chief, Delano Lewis, about a variety of different forms of cooperation, up to and including a merger,″ said Public Radio International’s CEO Stephen Salyer.
NPR and PRI each develop and distribute shows to nearly 600, mostly the same, stations nationwide. Each service reaches about 17 million listeners weekly.
Merging operations could save the services money and make it easier for them _ by not competing against each other _ to bring in financial support from their main sources of income: stations, corporate underwriting, foundation grants and listener contributions.
Merger discussions were first reported by Communications Daily, a newsletter that covers, among other things, public radio.
NPR shows include ``All Things Considered,″ ``Morning Edition″ and ``Car Talk.″ Among programs that Public Radio International distributes are ``Prairie Home Companion,″ ``Marketplace″ and ``The World.″