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WMFE and Twitter: A message from our President & General Manager

WMFE Twitter account screenshot

Dear WMFE Friends,

Last week, Twitter labeled NPR’s official twitter account as “state-affiliated media,” a designation usually given to government-controlled media outlets. Twitter later changed that label to “government-funded media.” Both labels are inaccurate, as I will explain in a moment.

This morning, NPR announced that its organizational accounts would no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine NPR’s credibility by falsely implying that NPR is not editorially independent.

Independent journalism is WMFE’s core service to the Central Florida community. While WMFE operates separately from NPR, NPR is a valued provider of high quality journalism and programming for our audience. We have every confidence in the editorial integrity and independence of NPR’s work and are deeply concerned about the potential of Twitter’s inaccurate labels to cast doubt on that editorial integrity. While WMFE’s Twitter accounts have not been labeled, WMFE has made the decision to suspend activity on Twitter for the foreseeable future.

We remain as committed as ever to connecting with our audiences across Central Florida on multiple platforms. You can always find our trustworthy journalism and compelling programming on 90.7 and 89.5 FM, wmfe.org, the WMFE mobile app, the WMFE newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Facts about NPR’s Funding and Independence

NPR (National Public Radio) is a nonprofit media organization that produces and distributes news and cultural programming to a network of over 1,000 public radio stations in the United States.

NPR is not directly funded by the U.S. government, although it does receive some funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 to promote public broadcasting. This funding only accounts for a very small portion of NPR's total budget, and NPR is required by law to maintain editorial independence from the CPB and any other government entity.

NPR is governed by a Board of Directors, which is composed of NPR member station managers, journalists, and representatives from the public, who oversee the organization's operations and make strategic decisions. This board is responsible for ensuring that NPR adheres to its mission of providing high-quality, independent journalism and programming.

Finally, NPR's editorial independence is further protected by its code of ethics, which outlines the principles and standards that guide its reporting and programming. NPR journalists are expected to maintain their independence, and they are not subject to editorial direction or pressure from any outside sources.

NPR's funding sources, governance structure, and commitment to editorial independence all provide evidence that NPR is not state-run media, but rather an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to providing high-quality journalism and programming to the public.

Facts about WMFE’s Funding and Independence

WMFE is proud to provide NPR’s high-quality programming to our audiences in Central Florida, but WMFE, like all NPR-affiliated stations, is independently owned and operated. WMFE has complete editorial control over the programming we provide to our audience.

Like NPR, WMFE adheres to a robust set of editorial integrity and ethics guidelines, which guarantee our journalists’ editorial independence from outside forces.

Like NPR, WMFE receives a small amount of funding from CPB, but this funding makes up less than 10% of WMFE’s overall budget. By contrast, support from individuals and businesses in our region make up nearly 90% of our budget. This further underscores WMFE’s independence, in that we are primarily reliant on and accountable to our community.

WMFE does not receive any funding from NPR. On the contrary, we pay NPR $650,000 a year for programs that we air. We do the same with American Public Media and other national program distributors.

WMFE is governed by a Board of Trustees made up of members of the Central Florida community who volunteer their time to provide strategic and fiduciary guidance to the organization. WMFE and NPR are subject to various regulations and guidelines related to their use of public airwaves. For example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires all broadcasters to operate in the public interest and to provide a certain amount of programming that meets specific educational and cultural standards.

WMFE’s mission is to provide Central Florida with journalism and fact-based content that empower the community to better understand and participate in our diverse and complex world. Our vision is to lead Central Florida’s community conversation, based on substantiated facts and respect for diverse perspectives. We aim to be Central Florida’s essential source for distinctive journalism, grounded in listening and committed to creating a safe but challenging space to broaden our understanding of each other and the world.

Thank you for being part of the WMFE family. Please email me with any questions or concerns at jsmelser@wmfe.org.


Judith Smelser
WMFE President & General Manager