‘The NPR Challenge’: Journalism Student Aims to Listen to Every Local NPR Station in the U.S.

A journalism student at California State University, Northridge, is attempting to listen to every local National Public Radio station in the U.S. that streams online. The talk-radiohead, Michael Arvizu, is calling the endeavor “The NPR Challenge.”

As he tells KSTK News, an NPR affiliate in Wrangell, AK (population: 2,400), “If I listen faithfully each day, and I admit it, I’ve skipped a day or two usually on the weekends — my calculation was maybe two years, more or less.” 

Arvizu began the self-imposed “daunting effort” a bit more than a month ago. He is rolling through NPR stations alphabetically, by state, so far completing listening tours of Alabama and Alaska and currently listening in on Arizona. He began with WBHM 90.3 FM in Birmingham, Ala., and most recently tuned into KBAQ 89.5 FM serving Phoenix, Ariz.

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Why spend so much free time on such an intense hyperlocal — and for him, non-local — talk radio experience?

According to Arvizu, “These are all small stations that have their own local news coverage. It gives me an appreciation for the effort and hard work the reporters do to get the news out there to the residents. … It kind of makes me realize that yeah, there’s news happening all over the place and it’s not just here in LA that there’s major stories taking place. There’s major issues going on across the country.”

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