NPR, which is looking for a PR firm to bolster its image, has hired Bracy Tucker Brown & Valanzano to fight future Republican efforts to defund public radio.

Despite all the noise from the GOP and its Tea Party allies, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's $445M budget was kept in place under the budget compromise ironed out earlier this month.

Michael Bracy, partner in the government affairs firm, handles the NPR account. He is a veteran of media tussles on Capitol Hill and at the Federal Communications Commission, repping the Low Power Radio Coalition on the regulation and consolidation fronts.

Bracy, co-owner of the Misra independent record label in Austin, is co-founder of the Future of Music Coalition, which works to achieve fair compensation for musicians in the digital age.

BTB&V represents a mix of corporate, municipal and non-profit clients including Willis North America, Longhorn Partners Pipeline, Puget Sound Energy, City of Tucson, Allied Pilots Assn., American Ballet Theater, Girls Inc. and the Girl Scouts.

NPR shelled out $131,666 for lobbying during the first-quarter 2011. Its targets included H.R. 68 to eliminate federal funding and H.R. 69 to ban local public stations to use federal dollars to acquire programming.

NPR spent $410K for lobbying during 2010.