A reader sent me a correction about NPR’s funding. As it turns out, they do not receive any government funding other than through grants that they apply for, rather they sell their programs to public radio stations, which do receive government support (although, as any public radio person will tell you, that support is rather thin. In any case, this is all stated explicitly on the NPR Financials page (oops, linked to NPR again).
NPR’s annual revenues come primarily from member station dues and programming fees, contributions from private foundations, and corporate underwriting. A long-standing board policy prohibits NPR from soliciting listeners directly: on-air fund raising, direct mail, and telephone solicitations remain a prerogative of member stations.
The only direct government funding NPR receives is through competitive grants from government agencies for specific projects. Such grants are awarded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, and typically represent only 2% of total revenues.