PRESS RELEASE from National Public Radio

November 19, 2007  
Leah Yoon, NPR





Washington, D.C.; November 19, 2007 – The NPR News and Iowa Public Radio national Democratic Presidential debate, to be broadcast and webcast live from 1:00-3:00PM (CT) on Tuesday, December 4, will be held at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines, with NPR News journalists and hosts Steve Inskeep, Michele Norris and Robert Siegel as moderators.

The two-hour event, leading up to the Iowa Caucus, will offer the first audio-only debate of the presidential race and will repeat the format introduced in 2004 by NPR and the NPR Member Stations of Iowa. All major Democratic candidates are confirmed to attend. The setting is relaxed: the candidates sit closely together around a U-shaped table, with no studio audience or video cameras. Breaking away from the question-and-answer structure traditionally presented by the television networks, the NPR/IPR debate will feature three areas of discussion and the moderators will enable the candidates to conduct a dialogue with each other. The debate will take place in the State Historical Museum’s new “Caucus Iowa” exhibit, featuring history and memorabilia about the first-in-the-nation event.

The NPR/IPR 2004 debate aired nationally on NPR Member stations and was extensively praised by the media and by listeners for its thoughtful pace, depth of conversation and interaction between the participants. Comparing it to the televised versions, The Dallas Morning News said, “We actually learned from the candidates in this one.”

The first broadcast of the debate will be exclusive to NPR Member stations around the country; many stations will also rebroadcast it that evening and in other time periods. The debate will also air on Sirius Satellite Radio, in more than 150 countries through NPR Worldwide Service and on American Forces Radio reaching U.S. military around the world. The debate will be streamed lived on and numerous Member stations’ websites. Following the initial exclusive broadcast and webcast, NPR will make the recording fully accessible to all media outlets and individuals, without license restrictions; it will also be available for permanent on-demand streaming at and via NPR Member stations’ sites.

NPR and IPR are working with the Republican presidential candidates to reschedule the forum originally planned for December 3. The leading Republican candidates cited scheduling conflicts and multiple debate requests from news and political party organizations. NPR is currently working closely with them to identify another suitable date and location.

NPR programs reach more than 26 million listeners weekly, and NPR Member stations have a weekly audience of more than 30 million people. Iowa Public Radio reaches more than 240,000 weekly listeners across the state.



BLOG ENTRY from Iowa Public Radio's official "Connecting Iowa" blog

September 19, 2007

NPR News/Iowa Public Radio Debates Leap Forward

NPR and Iowa Public Radio will host the presidential candidates in two debates in Des Moines: the Republican candidates on Monday, December 3, 2007; the Democratic candidates on Tuesday, December 4, 2007.

This is a change from the original announcement of January debates, and reflects the possibility that the Iowa Caucuses will move forward, in response to other changes in the primary calendar. Both events will take place at the State Historical Society of Iowa building, in downtown Des Moines, at the foot of the Capitol Building.

Ellen Weiss, VP for News at NPR, announced today that NPR’s Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Steve Inskeep will co-host the debates live from 2-4pmET each day. Our debates will be exclusive to radio and online — no television cameras — and will feature the leading contenders in each race.

Our last collaboration with NPR to produce debates was in January 2004; then, it was a two-hour Democratic radio debate. Candidates John Kerry, Howard Dean and others praised that debate for its focus on substance and the issues at the center of the race. The 2008 NPR/Iowa Public Radio debates will follow the same public radio news tradition of rich, substantive conversation and unique insight. They will be held in the Forum space at the center of a new exhibit called “Caucus Iowa”, about the history of the Caucus events in the state.

More about these debates as they draw closer.

Filed under: NPR, News and Information Service — Todd Mundt @ 6:53 pm


PRESS RELEASE from National Public Radio
February 15, 2007  Contact:

Leah Yoon, NPR
Joan Kjaer, Iowa Public Radio 

NPR News and Iowa Public Radio to Produce Live National Presidential Candidate Debates, January 9-10; Debates to be Exclusive to Radio and Internet

Washington, D.C. and Des Moines, IA; February 15, 2007 – NPR News and Iowa Public Radio are partnering to produce two live national presidential debates in advance of the 2008 Iowa Caucus.

The Democratic and Republican debates will feature the leading contenders in each race and take place on January 9 and 10 in Des Moines; the Caucus is January 14. The national debates will be exclusive to NPR Member stations for radio-only broadcast, and available through and the stations’ websites.

These events mark the second time NPR News is collaborating with the Iowa public radio station community to host presidential debates. In 2004, NPR, the WOI Radio Group and other individual NPR Member stations in the state joined to produce a two-hour Democratic radio debate with the six leading candidates. Since that broadcast, the stations at Iowa’s three major universities merged to form Iowa Public Radio: they are WSUI, University of Iowa in Iowa City; WOI-AM/FM, Iowa State University, and KUNI, University of Northern Iowa.

“The format and qualities of public radio are well-suited to a presidential candidates’ debate, offering listeners substantive, thoughtful and intimate conversation,” said Ken Stern, Chief Executive Officer, NPR. “Since the 2004 elections, the public has increasingly turned in record numbers to NPR News and NPR Member stations for objective, information-rich journalism. These upcoming debates, in partnership with our colleagues in Iowa, are part of a comprehensive, cross-platform, multi-year commitment to election coverage we have made to serve that demand.”

Noted Cindy Browne, Executive Director, Iowa Public Radio, "Iowans are proud of their first-in-the-nation caucuses because they represent a kind of citizen dialogue about the issues that's difficult to find elsewhere. The civil approach of NPR News reflects the nature of the Iowa caucuses and we are delighted to be involved with them in these important events.”

Iowa Public Radio was formed in 2005 to align the stations of the WOI Radio Group in Ames, KUNI/KHKE in Cedar Falls-Waterloo and KSUI/WSUI in Iowa City in greater service to the people of Iowa. The stations offer local and national news and three statewide talk programs as well as full-time music formats to the community they serve, reaching more than 220,000 people. NPR News’ commitment to election coverage has unified national and local journalism and crosses all media platforms. On mid-term election night November 7, NPR News offered nine consecutive hours of live coverage, with two anchor teams and 30 reporters on location around the country. provided a roadmap to all major races and issues, with interactive links to local Member stations’ coverage. Following the election, NPR News produced a weeklong series on bipartisanship and the art of compromise, with 27 segments airing across seven programs in the NPR schedule. NPR News also offered a newsmaking exclusive interview with President Bush on January 29. NPR programs reach 26 million listeners weekly.