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Your NPR Name is an online forum game akin to “your porn star name” or “your superhero name” in which the player earns a nickname from a combination of two arbitrary personal details. In this game, the end result is supposed to emulate the often exotic-sounding names of newscasters on National Public Radio (NPR).
The game was invented by blogger Liana Maeby, who explained the rules of the game in a blog article posted on April 13th, 2009:
You take your middle initial and insert it somewhere into your first name. Then you add on the smallest foreign town you’ve ever visited. So I’m Liarna Kassel. And Eric is Jeric Bath. I even have a new nickname for my little brother in Dylsan Rosarita.
The majority of blog posts about the NPR Game came from the days immediately following the game’s creation in April 2009. On April 14th, “Your NPR Name” game threads appeared in various message boards and forums including Woot! and MacResource. By April 15th, the NPR Name game was posted to MetaFilter where it received over 279 comments playing the game.
That afternoon, NPR’s Linda Holmes created a blog post describing how she came across the game on Twitter, via Chicago-based radio personality Peter Sagal. The article received over 200 comments with readers sharing their own NPR Name game results. The same day, Maeby’s NPR Name game was written about on the Late Night With Jimmy Fallon blog.
Public Radio Name Generator
There’s also a Public Radio Name Generator created by Get Creative Inc. According to the underlying DNS registry data for the URL, the domain was acquired at least as early as April 27th, 2011.  The results from the generator seem to simply mash-up randomly-generated combinations of names of various ethnicities.
Rain Wilson’s Variation
On September 22nd, 2011, a second notable variation of the game was tweeted by The Office actor Rain Wilson. It is unclear what motivated Wilson to tweet a different set of rules over two years later.
Wilson’s tweet has resulted in a resurgence in the #nprname game on Twitter, though with a significant mutation in rules:
Search queries for “NPR name” reached its peak in early April 2009 and continuously waned throughout the rest of the year; the minor resurgence in July 2010 can be attributed to an unrelated news story about National Public Radio’s official name change to its familiar initials NPR. The spike in April 2011 eclipses with the launch of Public Radio Name Generator.
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