National Geographic is largely known for its visual images. Its magazines, TV channel, and Internet sites have connected the dots between faraway and divergent way of life. On Friday, National Geographic Ventures, the media arm of the organization, announced they’ll be expanding their audio offerings to add more soundbytes, songs and stories to go with the pictures that are so easily recognized.
In a partnership with distributors including Clear Channel and National Public Radio ("NPR"), the company will launch a radio venture with programs syndicated to over-air and Internet based stations. Reportedly, hundreds of hours of programming are planned.
Also in the works is a National Geographic record label and music publishing division. The combined new group will be called National Geographic Music and Radio (NGMR). It will be run by David Beal and in addition to the new expansion, also be responsible for putting together live music events, managing National Geographic’s music download site and overseeing the more than 12k copyrights in the company’s music copyright library.
No doubt influenced by the growing popularity of eco focused entertainment and media, the company is trying to both capitalize and protect its turf as other media companies like Discovery Communications (Parent of the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet etc) encroach further into the kind of natural-world focused content that has been National Geographic’s domain since being formed in 1888.
Describing the new venture, National Geographic president Tim Kelly said, "National Geographic Music and Radio will engage listeners with great talk and sound, and also offer artists and experts who care about global culture and the environment an outlet to create awareness for important issues,"
In addition to world music, the company will also work with notable musicians who are actively participants in environmental or cultural issues that relate to National Geographic’s focus. So far National Geographic has already worked with Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and Peter Gabriel. They promise the artists the ability to promote and distribute their music and message across the entire National Geographic property portfolio.