Whatever the “core audience” that NPR has cultivated, here’s one vote in favor of ensuring that the organization doesn’t change all that much. I doubt that there are only a few right-of-center types like me who enjoy NPR, but however few like me there may be, I am perfectly willing to cop to liking the programs on NPR in general, and on my local NPR station in particular. Part of the reason I like NPR is that it allows me to find out what is important to its “predominately white, liberal, highly educated, elite” audience, so that as a highly educated, libertarian-conservative elite individual, I can understand what the other side is thinking, what their arguments are on the issues of the day, what the strengths and weaknesses of those arguments are, and how those arguments may challenge my thinking. I suppose that it would be easy to be like Paul Krugman, and pay attention only to those who agree with me. But there is no possibility of substantial intellectual growth if one goes that route.
If NPR chooses to try to reach out to highly educated, libertarian-conservative elites like me, I would not be entirely displeased. But I can find really smart right-of-center news outlets elsewhere. I rely on NPR to be what it is, so that I can get a sense of what issues are important to the other side of the partisan divide. Thus, if NPR changes its personality, I will lose out on the type of news and information that it is uniquely equipped to give me.