American Public Media Group
American Public Media Group (APMG), formerly Minnesota Communications Group, is the non-profit organization that is the parent of non-profits Minnesota Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC 89.3 FM), and Classical South Florida (WKCP 89.7 FM), along with the for-profit Greenspring Company, as well as MPR's Fitzgerald Theater. Profits from the Greenspring Company are funneled through the company and used to shore up the public funding of MPR, although SCPR apparently does not receive any funding from APMG. Jon McTaggart is president.
Based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, American Public Media Group is ultimately a parent organization of—but distinct from—American Public Media, the distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio that produces shows like On Being and Marketplace and distributes A Prairie Home Companion.
American Public Media Group receives substantial financial support from the Lumina Foundation ($500,000) to provide coverage of education-related issues that are of interest to the Lumina Foundation and its frequent partner in education policy initiatives, the Gates Foundation. Critics have suggested that this funding may lead to biased coverage and have noted the Lumina Foundation's connections to the private student loan company Sallie Mae. Lumina-funding of the American Public Media Group is not always disclosed in education press coverage or in coverage of white papers, articles, or editorials by other Lumina or Gates Foundation grantees, such as the New America Foundation.
APMG directly operates the Pretty Good Goods Catalog, and Public Radio Market, an Amazon.com affiliate. Again, money from these operations appears to feed into Minnesota Public Radio.
Critics have complained that Minnesota Public Radio promotes content that is available through its affiliated organizations at the expense of others, though the business model has proved to work well and elements of it are being duplicated by other public radio organizations around the country.
- Jennifer Ruark, "To Shape the National Conversation, Gates and Lumina Support Journalism," The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2013
- Ben Grose, Strategic Philanthropy Comes to Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2013
- Molly-Hensley Clancy & Katie J.M. Baker, How A Private Foundation With Student Loan Ties Became A Force In Higher Education, BuzzFeed, May 22, 2014
- Jennifer Ruark, "In the Foundation 'Echo Chamber'", The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2013