NPR aims to stop operating its Berlin station

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NPR is looking to end its role as the operator of a station in Berlin, the only radio outlet in the world run by the network.

By German law, NPR can’t sell the license to the station, according to a spokesperson. But the network plans to “focus its efforts in Berlin solely as a content provider,” according to a note posted on NPR Berlin’s website Thursday. The change is expected to take place July 31.

“This approach opens the door for a locally-owned entity to run the station,” said the note, credited to “NPR Berlin Staff.” “Over the next few months, the Media Authority of Berlin-Brandenburg (MABB) — the equivalent of the FCC in the Berlin-Brandenburg region of Germany — will accept and consider applications to operate the Berlin FM frequency.”

NPR will look to work with the new operator to continue to air NPR programming on the station.

The network began broadcasting in Berlin in 2006 after applying to the MABB to take over a U.S.-run station then programmed by Voice of America. The MABB liked the greater variety of programming offered by NPR, according to a government spokesperson at the time.

But NPR has been evaluating “the long-term financial sustainability of NPR Media Berlin” over the past year, according to an audited financial statement released in December. Management began looking to decrease the network’s subsidy to NPR Media Berlin.  

According to IRS filings, NPR spent $181,443 on the operation in fiscal year 2015 and $205,953 in FY2014.