Study finds most listeners don’t mind NPR’s embedded underwriting credits

A committee of NPR’s board voted May 8 to maintain embedded underwriting at its current level on network programs, despite concerns among station executives that the practice could harm listeners’ perceptions. Embedded underwriting credits appear within segments of NPR’s newsmagazines, rather than in the longer blocks of credits that punctuate the shows. The credits give sponsors dedicated placement alongside particular series and areas of coverage, such as business, health and technology. NPR ramped up efforts to sell embedded underwriting starting in 2011, and station leaders and programmers responded with worries that the credits were disrupting the flow of programs and giving listeners the idea that sponsors are influencing content. Late last year, NPR agreed to limit the number of adjacent spots to 11 per week and to study listeners’ reactions to the credits.