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[P]
NPR: The addiction

By senjiro in Op-Ed
Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:49:20 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

National Public Radio is, for many, a valued source of news, commentary, and exposure to our culture. NPR derives its funding in a variety of ways, primarily supported by its listeners. With the current economic situation, as well as painful cutbacks in funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, NPR's future is uncertain. How do the members of our community feel about this? Many of us gladly support other valued venues of information online, but do you do your part for NPR?


I am one of those people who listen to NPR everyday on the drive to and from work. I also fail, on a bi-yearly basis, to do my part to support their efforts. Earlier this week, I had to face these ugly facts due to an unscheduled outage at my local affiliate. The last 3 days have been a hellish attempt to fill the void of the commute with some other form of mental stimulation. I now have to admit to being addicted to NPR. The old adage about absence and a fonder heart is painfully true.

When you think about everything that NPR delivers regularly: worldwide events, live reports, excellent discussion, ,culture, and art it raises the question: can all this continue to exist on popular support and donations? As any listener during the fund drive will tell you, the answer is no. Smaller, rural markets are the hardest hit, with even large metropolitan areas suffering significant drops in funding as the unemployment rates rise and the economy continues the downward spiral.

What can be done? What should be done? While it's true that I live in a relatively mid-sized market (Greater Kansas City Metro), I have yet to find a radio station that offers the same level of quality and coverage. Talk radio stations are a conservative joke, with all the audio quality of an 8 track. News radio stations don't have the world, regional, or cultural interests, focusing mainly on which streets are being repaired today, and pulling what otherwise passes for news right off the AP wire. Millions of people in the US and abroad turn to this outlet for their daily dose of what's happening. Can we afford to let this resource die out? Or worse, can we afford to, through our own lack of support, force NPR into a commercial revenue model?

Many people have suggested solutions for the dilemna. The Canadian Broadcasting Company is funded primarily through canadian tax dollars. Likewise, the BBC derives it's funding from the citizens' paycheck. While both of these broadcast systems are in themselves excellent, and indeed analogous to NPR, I doubt that a purely tax driven revenue model would work in the US. First and foremost it would make NPR accountable to one of the primary news creation entities in the US, and arguably one of the most evil. Second, as thinking beings are a rarity in this country, I doubt that you could garner enough support. Face it, your average Joe Lunchbox is perfectly satisfied with Britney Spears and a 4 minute blurb at the top of the hour confirming that the world is still spinning.

I perceive the internet culturati to be largely a group of people fed up of corporate schlock, not interested in bloated government, and yet intimately concerned about the state of the world. Likewise, I think that supporters of Open Source and Free Speech make for logical supporters of objective, intelligent news. I think a fair argument could be made that the same underlying ideas behind these movements translate into a new movement: "free as in media". Admittedly that phrase is absurd today, but imagine if you will a world in which broadcast media distributers were accountable only to their audience, existing on the suffrage of the audience, and providing content demanded by the audience. Open and objective reporting can achieve one very important goal: educating the masses. Today the masses are spoon fed whatever tripe, propoganda, or FUD the networks choose to cook that day. With a little money, and a concerted desire to make this publicly funded model work, we can make a difference in the quality of information we are presented with. I personally have now made my decision to support National Public Radio, along with my support for other excellent sources of information. Will you?

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Poll
Do you support NPR?
o Yes, every fund drive. 5%
o Yes, once a year. 20%
o No, and I go to confession every Sunday because of it. 15%
o No, I can't afford to. 14%
o No and I won't. 34%
o Down with Cartalk! 9%

Votes: 96
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o National Public Radio
o funding
o Corporatio n for Public Broadcasting
o National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities
o support
o outage
o discussion
o culture
o art
o Canadian Broadcasting Company
o BBC
o schlock
o Open Source
o Free Speech
o tripe
o propoganda
o FUD
o excellent
o Also by senjiro


Display: Sort:
NPR: The addiction | 141 comments (113 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
It can't survive. (4.20 / 5) (#7)
by ghjm on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:22:32 AM EST

It's an interesting experiment, but classic economics says that it will fail. The issue is the free rider problem. This happens whenever you have goods or services that, once produced, can be consumed by anyone. From the point of view of any individual, you can assume that production will continue with or without your support, so why spend the money? What's worse, if you do think about spending the money, you have to consider whether everone else will. It makes no sense to be one of the few who actually paid, only to have production cease.

Many goods and services suffer from this problem: National defense, firefighters, police departments, pure research, road systems, air traffic controllers, environmental protection, etc, etc... In these cases the free market, instead of directing production to its most beneficial level, would instead direct production towards an output of zero. But many of these goods and services are vital, or at least highly desirable. If we were to produce none of them, the consequences would awful. So awful, in fact, that we are willing to constitute governments and allow them to levy taxes, to ensure that these goods and services are produced at something approximating appropriate levels. Because the level of production is no longer controlled by the free market, we must come up with some other means to direct output. Democracy and dictatorship seem to be the leading choices.

Or in other words, if you're going to get off your butt and write a check to NPR, at the same time *also* write a letter to your representatives in Congress asking for their support for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

-Graham

not really (4.66 / 3) (#11)
by tps12 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:47:42 AM EST

NPR is no doubt feeling the pinch as people across the nation have less disposable income than they have had in the past. There are many, many examples of goods and services that do subsist entirely on charitable donation, despite the fact that their benefits are shared.

Street musicians play music enjoyed by many people on a train platform, while only a few give them money. The people who give money when they don't have to are getting something more in return. They get a feeling of satisfaction and moral righteousness. This may not be much for some people, but it's what keeps street performers, public radio, and k5 in business.

[ Parent ]

Yes (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by ghjm on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:03:41 PM EST

But is the correct amount of such goods produced to maximize the satisfaction of all participants? That's what a free market does for you; your street performers suffer from a free rider problem, therefore in the free market does not operate correctly. The result is that too little street music is produced and earns too little money, with a long-term tendency towards zero. Total satisfaction could (presumably) be increased if more street music were to be produced, but how are we to pay for it?

-Graham

[ Parent ]

don't ignore reality (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by tps12 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:37:56 AM EST

Real-world evidence suggests that street music does not tend toward zero at all. As much as you argue that this is the case, you need only walk around any urban center to have your claim disproven.

I think we can agree on the following: if a street musician can give you nothing for your dollar beyond what he is already providing (i.e., music), then you will give him nothing.

Now, we can easily observe that people do, in fact, give him money. Why? Is it because the people giving the money are stupid, crazy, don't like money? No, it's because they are receiving something additional for their dollars.

What it is called depends on each person's moral system. One person might be doing what her deity demands, another might be doing what his mother taught him was proper, another might be compensating for the guilt she feels over being a repo woman. These are intangibles, but no less real than any other goods. It is the stuff that street performers, panhandlers, and charities trade in, and the basis of a business like any other.

As to your claim that more street music is always better, well, that's silly. At some point, major right of ways are so packed with guitarists that nobody can move. At some less absurd point, musicians are so close together that their music interferes with each other's. The free market that exists for charitable donations keeps the street musicians playing, while the free market for public music keeps them from getting out of control.

[ Parent ]

I guess it depends which city you are in (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by ghjm on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:41:33 AM EST

I can't remember the last time I saw a street performer in my home town. I don't think street performers exist at all outside the very largest centers. I think a town of 20,000 should be able to support one or two street performers in its downtown core, and I observe that this is not happening. Of course I don't think that more street music is always better!

-Graham

[ Parent ]

a couple (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by tps12 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:48:05 AM EST

I've experienced them most recently in New York, Seattle, and Boston. New York has tons, though. In any case, while some people subsist on playing music on the sidewalk for coins, it's probably a sign of a good job market when people have other, more stable, occupations.

[ Parent ]
Hmm... (4.75 / 4) (#42)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:26:11 PM EST

It's an interesting experiment, but classic economics says that it will fail.

Along with linux, churches, and Kuro5hin...



[ Parent ]
*Yawn* Ppl have been saying this for 30 yrs (5.00 / 2) (#44)
by revscat on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:05:08 PM EST

Just goes ta show ya that a bunch o' book learnin' sometimes ain't worth squat when it comes to the real world, I tell you whut. The "NPR/PBS will fail in the market" meme has been circulating for as long as I can remember, and yet they continue chugging right along. I remember these arguments being made whenever cable first came along, and yet here we are, 20 years later.

It has been my experience that this is usually said by those who wish to see them fail. Usually conservatives.

Anyone else think that the modern conservative/liberal dichotomy is actually a dichotomy between conservative/objective? Just a thought.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
Hey (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by ghjm on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:17:51 PM EST

I've never been called a conservative before.

I don't want to see NPR fail. (See this post for details.) But the fact that it hasn't failed yet doesn't mean it never will.

Note that the alternative of advertising-supported commercial broadcasting seems to be in serious trouble, as well...

-Graham

[ Parent ]

Oh no.. (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by revscat on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:01:04 PM EST

I wasn't implying that you were a conservative. Just that conservatives are usually the one who are talking about the eminent death of public broadcasting. Looking back, I wasn't entirely clear.

But the fact that it hasn't failed yet doesn't mean it never will.

Well, yeah. But damn near all businesses fail eventually. I mean, "sometime in the future" is kinda a long time to play with, doncha know.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
Re: Eminent Death (none / 0) (#138)
by wierdo on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 07:13:46 PM EST

Just that conservatives are usually the one who are talking about the eminent death of public broadcasting.

Wow, that must be some death for it to be that impressive! I suppose you really meant imminent, which is a rough equivalent of "soon."

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
Ha! (none / 0) (#88)
by BurntHombre on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:52:27 AM EST

"Anyone else think that the modern conservative/liberal dichotomy is actually a dichotomy between conservative/objective? Just a thought."

Good one!

But no.

[ Parent ]

In Canada (4.83 / 6) (#16)
by anon868 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:27:50 PM EST

I don't think we have the same kindd of thing here in Canada, but we do have the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), which is a Canada-wide radio station, run by the government, paid for by the taxpayer. They don't run on donations, the government just takes the money right out of everyone's pay check to run it. Needless to say, it gets alot of criticism, both for being biased, and being a waste of money. But let me tell you, it sure is nice to have intellegent, non-commercial programming, when the ONLY other talk radio station in the area is playing one of their two hour infomercials, or 10 mins worth of commercials.
If I lived in the US, I would probably listen and support NPR, it sounds like a great resource to have.
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
The CBC rocks (none / 0) (#20)
by Evil_Skippy on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:37:49 PM EST

It's by far the best radio station in the Vancouver area, at least.  If I don't have a decent tape or CD in the car, it's CBC Radio 2 all the way.  Good music (whether classical, more classical, Brave New Waves, or another of their cool legitimately-alternative music hours) much of the day, and when there's not music, there's radio hosts presenting news - and they aren't juvenile and irritating like most of the other stations around here.

MMmmmmm, CBC.

[ Parent ]

Unqualified "Radio" (none / 0) (#23)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:50:30 PM EST

In my house, when we say "radio" without any further description we mean CBC-1.

(I think Avril Benoit should be boiled.)

And don't forget about the French networks, too. There are some fine music shows on SRC-2, if you you don't have enough French to follow the chatter on SRC-1.

(A mon avis, April Bennett shouldez etre boilez-vous...er...le balle est jaune et il fait neige-toi.)



This is an excellent example of a fairly dull but decently spelled signature.

[ Parent ]
NPR == PRI == CBC == BBC (4.50 / 2) (#26)
by ignatiusst on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:03:19 PM EST

The only differences in these are how they are funded (though I am partial to BBC and NPR).

NPR used to be more heavily funded by the US Government but, as (apparently) in Canada, NPR received a lot of criticism for being biased (Daniel Shore and his entourage tend to tilt to the left) and for being a waste of money. Today, the US government funds something to the tune of 10% of NPRs operational costs. The listeners of the affiliate stations around the country supposedly foot the rest of the bill, though there are more and more "corporate sponsorships" popping up all the time.

But, as I am sure you know, if you listen to "public radio" news programming for any length of time and then turn on CNN/HLN/MSNBC/CNBC.. well, they are just appalling.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

yeah, no kidding (none / 0) (#32)
by eLuddite on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:51:19 PM EST

if you listen to "public radio" news programming for any length of time and then turn on CNN/HLN/MSNBC/CNBC.. well, they are just appalling.

Those stations broadcast "official" news and mainstream entertainment. Public radio sounds different because, for the most part, it broadcasts independently produced investigative journalism and "marginalized" entertainment. It's the last vestige of a truly free press.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

last vestige of a truly free press (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by aphrael on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:55:14 PM EST

methinks that would be weblogs, in fact.

[ Parent ]
not sure about that (none / 0) (#125)
by Delirium on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:23:56 PM EST

I think they still have a way to come before they can be compared to the press. As it is I'd compare them more to a (large) group of people standing around talking to each other -- you get a lot of good information, but a lot of baseless rumors as well.

[ Parent ]
CBC (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by UncleMikey on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:12:36 PM EST

One of the best programs running on many NPR stations here in the States is the CBC's /As It Happens/ :-) Actually, one of the things I like best about my particular NPR station (KNOW-FM) is that at night they run first /As It Happens/ and then the BBC World Service feed...
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]
As It Happens (none / 0) (#73)
by xah on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:28:27 PM EST

But what about As It Happens, especially back when they had Michael Enright and Barbara Budd? That was a very informative show. I wish we had a show like it here in the USA.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by carbon on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:40:57 PM EST

I listen to NPR more often for Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me then for the news shows. But still, it's a great station. Perhaps I'll submit an NPR ad...


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
Voids don't have to be filled. (4.00 / 10) (#22)
by ucblockhead on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:46:20 PM EST

The last 3 days have been a hellish attempt to fill the void of the commute with some other form of mental stimulation.
One of the problems with our society is that we are so damn afraid of silence. We've got to fill every spare second with external stimulation, shoving, shoving, shoving data into our heads without ever bothering to integrate it. We've lost the ability to create, to contemplate, to meditate. Instead, we've got to be constantly reacting, constantly stimulated, constantly experiencing something, anything but our own heads.

Drive with the radio off. Stimulate your brain by thinking. Meet a new person: yourself.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

Yes, and no... (5.00 / 2) (#25)
by UncleMikey on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:02:35 PM EST

Some mornings, I get in the car, turn on the radio...and then turn it off again almost immediately, even if the story currently on KNOW-FM (Twin Cities NPR/MPR news station) interests me, because my own thoughts are demanding attention and the radio is an unwanted distraction.

Other mornings, I have nothing to say to myself, and the stream of information and opinion is a valuable way to keep my brain awake while I drive.

All things considered (pun only partly intended), the story's author has a good point. I'm pretty badly delinquent on NPR support, myself (I support K5, tho'! :-), and I'm starting to feel honestly guilty about it.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

I think (none / 0) (#29)
by senjiro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:26:11 PM EST

that I agree with your point, although I myself am not terribly guilty of being afraid of silence. After my first day in withdrawal, I gave up and have spent the last two commutes in complete silence, broken only by the honking, droning, and squealing noises from the highway. Nothing wrong with that, but for me, NPR is like a good friend to share the ride with. So, just like when a friend moves away, I feel an emptiness there.

Drive with the radio off. Stimulate your brain by thinking

I could just as easily say "drive with the radio on NPR, stimulate your brain by thinking". One of the reasons to love NPR is that their content is about the meatiest thing you'll find. If you listen for 30 minutes, and are not re-evaluating a perception, learning something new, or fascinated by what you hear, there's probably something terribly wrong with you.

it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
[ Parent ]
Just thinking (none / 0) (#31)
by ucblockhead on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:44:19 PM EST

If you don't re-evaluate a perception after just sitting and thinking for 30 minutes, then there's something wrong with you...

Seriously, one of the problems with our Western culture is that we feel so driven to do, do, do, thinking that time not spent actively listening to something is wasted. Yes, you can learn a lot from NPR, but you can also learn a lot by doing nothing. In our society, we do too much listening, watching, doing, and not enough nothing. We spend lots of time hearing and not enough time really meditating on what we hear. Sure, NPR will have a twenty minute discussion on something fascinating, but then something else comes along and draws your attention aware...do you ever think of first thing again, really think on it hard? If you are like most people, you never get a chance to, because you are listening to something else, watching something else, doing something else.

Yes, you feel an emptiness there, but there's nothing wrong with an emptiness. Emptiness is good. Here in the West, we desperately need more emptiness.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

hmmmm (none / 0) (#33)
by senjiro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:51:47 PM EST

methinks i smell a buddhist! actually there are many times that i will hear a story, then tune out whatever next thing they go on about and consider what was just expressed.

Aside from me specifically, i couldn't agree more with your sentiment. It's the fast food culture man, spurned by corporations and marketers to keep us from realizing that the real world is far more intriguing than anything they can provide us.


it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
[ Parent ]
Paperclips (none / 0) (#84)
by bsletten on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:26:39 AM EST

One of my favorite (somewhat) running jokes on "Northern Exposure" was the dichotomy between Joel's frantic need to fill voids and time and Marilyn sitting and thinking about... paperclips.

I, too, am an NPR junkie but occasionally will just drive in silence and let what happens happen.

[ Parent ]
We (none / 0) (#110)
by Fon2d2 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:17:23 PM EST

We... always we. Whenever somebody says "we" in this context, he invariably means "I", for although he seeks solace in the fantasy of shared pain he speaks ever of his own experiences and his own sense of failing.

[ Parent ]
Here's an idea (3.71 / 7) (#24)
by athagon on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:01:48 PM EST

You could buy NPR a textad. You never know, people might actually click and, like, contribute. ;)

I have been a supporter (4.44 / 9) (#36)
by squinky on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:41:39 PM EST

for about a decade, but ever since NPR stooped to covering the OJ Simpson trial, ad naseum, a few years ago like all the other crappy news agencies, it seems to me their news has been in decline.

I no longer consider them a source of information-- they seem to toe the line of all the other News sources. I listen now purely for their entertainment.

I stopped listening to NPR for news during the OJ trial, and resumed when the trial was over.

I stopped again during the Monica ordeal.

And again since 9/11/2001 (actually not much before then because of the constant Palestine converage-- I don't like getting angry every morning).

Now I only listen to "Car Talk", "MarketPlace" (which I find immensely entertaining, but usually not very informative), "The Splendid Table", and "Studio 360", "This American Life". ( I really miss "Schickele Mix" and "My Word").

I used to have my stereo wake me up with NPR news. I don't do that any more. Their graphic descriptions of murders (the guy who got towed to death in TX) in particular had something to do with that. Nothing like that to put a damper on a morning wake-up sex. (that has happened twice-- two different murders-- both times on Sunday morning too. What the hell are they thinking? Why gory descriptions on a Sunday morning?-- aren't most people either in church or screwing on Sunday morning?). Although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go.

Plus-- that guy (Scott Simon) who does Weekend Edition is a complete asshole. I saw him on television (why was he on tv?) during the anthrax scare and he asked some expert a question about what anthrax would do do children on a playground. What the fuck was that? I now boycot that manipulative fear-mongering bastard. It's too bad-- he seemed like such a nice guy too. Plus he has a dorky laugh.

I love their reporting on science, nature, culture (well sometimes-- they really play some god-awful musician's music though), but the coverage is mostly repitious bad-news crap. Very repititious. If you listen for an hour, you will hear some stories 6 or 8 times.

Perhaps my greatest loss of respect for NPR came when I realized they were just jacking each other off. It seems like half the authors they interview are actually NPR correspondents. NPR should not be an advertisement vehicle for their employees.

By the way, seeing Ray Suarez (is there coquito?) on News Hour for the first time shocked me. I thought he would be an wirey intense-looking guy. I had no idea he was such a roly-poly teddy bear. Cutey!

hah!! (none / 0) (#67)
by demi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:24:54 PM EST

By the way, seeing Ray Suarez (is there coquito?) on News Hour for the first time shocked me. I thought he would be an wirey intense-looking guy. I had no idea he was such a roly-poly teddy bear. Cutey!

I had the exact same reaction; he looks absolutely nothing like he sounds (???).

[ Parent ]

Interesting (2.00 / 2) (#39)
by MisterQueue on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:42:10 PM EST

as another KC Metro person I can say that it is teh suck!!!1111 that KCUR is currently having xmission problems. I feared that they had gone down completely as of late. (And not in the good las vegas way.)

-Q

-------
"I mean, what's the point of sleeping with someone if they won't let you watch them pee?" -WingEnvy

91.5 MHz (none / 0) (#51)
by acceleriter on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:32:18 PM EST

The KU (boo) station, KANU. Should be able to be heard in most of Metro KC. Also, you can stream the national programs at npr.org, and local ones here.

[ Parent ]
90.9 (none / 0) (#81)
by Whizard on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:00:29 AM EST

Actually, I've started listening to 90.9 out of Warrensburg for my NPR goodness in the mornings - they play Morning Edition and ATC, and most of the other big NPR shows, and a lot of good music the rest of the time.

As an aside, I had no idea there was more than one KC K5er around.


--
So Lawrence Lessig, John Perry Barlow, Rusty, and Prince are having dinner...
[ Parent ]

Thanks for the tip (none / 0) (#87)
by acceleriter on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:10:06 AM EST

I'll have to see if my ancient radio can pick up 90.9.

I'm always surprised to see people from KC, too. We have such the reputation as a tech capital and all . . .

[ Parent ]

+1FP; important topic, but Fuck NPR! (3.33 / 9) (#43)
by ip4noman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:45:54 PM EST

Frankly, fuck NPR (and PBS too). They are bought by and sold to the same corportations which own the "commercial press". NPR/PBS are just a little better at hiding it. Try this little search and see what comes up: censorship + NPR. Examples:
  • There is presently a lawsuit for 2 Million dollars pending because of NPR's ironically named series "All Things Considered" pulling the plug on a series made by Mumia Abu Jamal. You can read for yourself what Mumia was saying in the book All Things Censored.
  • Read what Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has to say about censorship at NPR
  • Ask yourself: when was the last time you every heard the following on NPR/PBS? An anti-war voice? The voice of radical dissent, like Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Jello Biafra, Ralph Nadar? How about someone advocating the legalization of marijuana? These voices are EXCISED because they do not support the status-quo.
What you REALLY want is *non-commercial, community media*, like Public Access TV, or true listener-supported, non-commercial radio, like the stations operated by the Pacifica Network( WBAI NYC -- [probably the best. Search around for the 24x7 real audio stream] KPFK Los Angeles CA, KPFA Berkeley CA, KPFT Houston TX, WPFW Washington DC), or one of the other small, low-power community radio stations around the U.S. (usually operated in conjunction with a University), like KNON Dallas TX, KOOP Austin TX, WHRW Binghamton NY, WRPI Troy, NY (there are thousands), or even Radio for Peace International (Shortwave/Costa Rica).

It is here you will here true diversity, as evidenced by dissident voices, but NEVER on NPR.



--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
minor nit pick (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by aphrael on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:53:19 PM EST

because it irritates the **** out of me:

his name is ralph nader. Nadar is a spanish word meaning to swim.

[ Parent ]

sorry, thanks n/t (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by ip4noman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:24:29 PM EST



--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Um (4.00 / 2) (#58)
by ghjm on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:49:41 PM EST

Perhaps I'm picking a nit, but it seems to me that you're describing what *YOU* really want. What *I* really want is slick, high-production-values media content that caters to the more sophisticated/intelligent/whatever-you-call-it viewer/listener. I don't want to watch public access TV because the production values are awful, and I care about that (shallow though that may be). I want high-quality programming that engages my thought processes. NPR provides this. I don't give a flying damn how they finance it; I'd actually prefer NPR-with-ads to the current once-a-year-we-whine-a-lot system.

I don't normally hyphenate this much.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

Prod. budget not realted to quality of content (none / 0) (#94)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:36:56 AM EST

"I want playboy news: pretty pictures and soft, soothing voices telling me how good my stocks are doing, which I can wank off to"

Hey, bro. The real world is filled with dissent. You don't hear any on NPR because it is censored. And don't confuse "production values" with "budget" because they are very different things.

If you want a small example of what I'm talking about, just check out Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!. This is done on a shoestring budget (compared to say, the average CNN of FoxNews segment), but has very high production values. You will hear things on Democracy Now! that you will not EVER hear on PBS/NPR, etc.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
thanks for telling people what they need to think (4.60 / 5) (#66)
by demi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:11:27 PM EST

PBS and NPR are both excellent news outlets, among the best the world has to offer. They aren't usually the first ones to the story but their reporting is fair, responsible, and accurate, at least from my POV.

Ask yourself: when was the last time you every heard the following on NPR/PBS? An anti-war voice? The voice of radical dissent, like Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Jello Biafra, Ralph Nadar? How about someone advocating the legalization of marijuana? These voices are EXCISED because they do not support the status-quo.

From time to time their "voices" are actually heard, it depends on what the member stations want to show (Nader excepted, he has been interviewed by Frontline numerous times). Most of the reason these people (again, besides Nader) you cite are in the news every night is because their ideas are part of a political fringe that has little or no relevance to the US public. There's no villianous conspiracy keeping Chomsky Watch et al out of the mass public perview - it's their whacked opinions and preference for polarizing rhetoric that's to blame. If Uncle Noam was interested in making secular humanist anarchism better understood among reasonable sheeple, he would tone down his slanted language, but then of course the radical activist nuts would eviscerate him for it. If CNN could get more viewers by having Robert Fisk as a commentator, they would do it in a heartbeat, but the simple fact is that nobody wants to hear their invective except people that already agree.

C-SPAN will air symposia, plenary lectures, and roundtables that often include political black sheep, but be warned: they actually air the unedited opinions of public officials, so you will actually have to listen for more than 2-3 minutes at a time (careful! you may learn something!). Also, they aren't blatantly anti-corporate, which doesn't matter to me but to some people it's the minimum threshold for credibility. I listen to KPFT quite often (also KTRU airs stuff from Pacifica network), but taken as a sole source of information it will surely lead a person into an almost delusional state of re-programming. It's necessary to get a balanced supply of reliable information (and sometimes unreliable information) to understand important issues, and I'm sorry but activist news networks like IMC are LESS TRUSTWORTHY than the mass media when it comes to reporting a story that undermines their politics.

[ Parent ]

The truth about Chomsky and the media (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by marinel on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:25:09 PM EST

Demi,

> [...] their ideas are part of a political fringe that has little or no relevance to the US public

You commit two serious fallacies here:

  1. You assume you know what the US public considers relevant.
  2. You assume that the US public is informed enough to be able to tell whether what Chomsky puts forward is relevant or not, despite the fact that all the US public knows about him is from his detractors and censors?
> There's no villianous conspiracy keeping Chomsky Watch et al out of the mass public perview - it's their whacked opinions and preference for polarizing rhetoric that's to blame.

If anyone claims that there is a conspiracy against Chomsky (including himself), that person is a fool for the simple reason that it does not take a conspiracy to keep Chomsky off the waves. All it takes is a few pundits to decree that Chomsky is an untouchable and wacko (e.g. someone like yourself) and the venom spreads like wildfire through a US media that merely feeds the National Inquirer-palate sheeple by relaying news from AP and other press agencies (or bigger media sources in the cases of smaller media outlets). At this point, without ever having heard Chomsky, most people DO believe that he's an untrustworthy source and not worth the trouble looking into what he has said.

Try reading some of Chomsky's articles or books and decide for yourself as opposed to believing whatever it is said about him. Wouldn't that be fairer to the man? I can attest that I read many of his articles and parts of his books and I have yet to find the lies he's so often accused of spreading. On the contrary, I heard bits of truth about US policy that are hard to find in the US media, but I guess it's easier to sink your head in the sand than admit that what he might be saying it's true (truths which imply the blasphemous notion that most US citizens are more or less passive, silent conspirators to the attrocities the US govt, especially CIA are guilty off, assuming you subscribe to the idea that USA is a democracy). I do admit that his tone and interpretation are a bit off-putting for most people, but the essence of his writings are true and disturbing nonetheless. For starters, sink your teeth for a few good hours into Zmag: http://www.zmag.org/ and read other columnists beside Chomsky also.

If you leave behind as much as possible from your preconcieved notions about Chomsky, you might actually learn something by reading some of his articles and books (as opposed to believing whatever someone APPEARING to sound intelligent might say about him).

marinel
----
Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner!

--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]

everybody says this about Ch_msky: (5.00 / 1) (#123)
by demi on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:57:26 PM EST

Try reading some of Chomsky's articles or books and decide for yourself as opposed to believing whatever it is said about him.

I've read Manufacturing Consent, or at least part of it (I have alluded to this several times in recent posts), and I often check Zmag and Chomsky Watch to see what his current fixation is. I find much that I disagree with in his opinions, and especially his sources of information, but right now I don't care to get into the perfuctory Chomsky-debunking flame war. Take me as one of the many sheeple that has heard his voice and found it lacking in resonance and credibility. I agree, in general, with his central thesis that Americans (and especially establishment intellectuals) are responsible for the mistakes of the US government, but I find his proposed solutions (he seldom offers any) unrealistic, unconstructive, and ill-conceived.

You are partially right that his notoriety scares off some people that may have otherwise appreciated the good aspects of his writing (which I will admit to - I often learn new things from trying to understand his perspective), but I think it's more damaging to have center-left pundits like Eric Alterman call him "silly" than the fiery wrath and condemnation of the right wing. But if that's all it takes to dispel his public credibility, is it really all the fault of the boo-sayers?

About my fallacious reasoning:

You assume you know what the US public considers relevant.
You assume that the US public is informed enough to be able to tell whether what Chomsky puts forward is relevant or not, despite the fact that all the US public knows about him is from his detractors and censors?
Since this is a discussion of the media, which in its own commercial self-interest generally covers events its audience considers relevant, I think the lack of radical-left commentary in network newscasts is a reflection of the meager public interest in anti-corporate activism. The network news is always quick to respond to public opinion - just look at pre-9/11 coverage of the Middle East versus post. If Chomsky's worldview had meaningful resonance among the general public it would be rapidly picked up, packaged, and sold to them by CBS. But it has no such resonance, even among audiences that are quite well informed in the matters of the world, and meither you nor our friend Noam are in any position to tell anybody that your version of the story is the truth.

[ Parent ]
Don't forget the BBC and CBC (none / 0) (#68)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:45:45 PM EST

For the record, NPR is OK for American media, but PBS doth suck mightily.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
BBC is no better than either (none / 0) (#70)
by demi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:59:57 PM EST

but PBS doth suck mightily.

What's wrong with PBS? The only thing BBC has over PBS and NPR is that it's quicker to the story and has a wider more international audience. Content-wise, I've not seen anything to convince me that it is better. And as for CBC, are they even relevant? I've never seen/read anything from them.

[ Parent ]

PBS... (none / 0) (#74)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:35:23 PM EST

What's wrong with PBS?

PBS programs are shoddily produced and have a creepy "Look at us, we think we're biased towards the left. We don't even have advertising! Oh by the way, this program is brought to you by MegaConglomoCorp." Their documentaries don't have a thing on CBC documentaries.

And as for CBC, are they even relevant?

The CBC definately isn't "relevant," in the grand scheme of things, but I'd say it's a necessary part of a complete news diet. I might be biased since I'm Canadian. :)



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
no (none / 0) (#76)
by demi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:41:49 PM EST

The production values and editing for the best PBS shows are first-rate (the median, however, is a different story). Take Frontline and Life 360 for example. PBS is centrist, and more balanced IMO than NPR, which actually does have centrist-left tendencies, using the US political compass.

If it's glitz and polish that you like, however, the big three networks (especially if you have a HDTV-capable reciever) put everyone, worldwide, to shame. I would check out CBC but I don't know anywhere that carries it.

[ Parent ]

BBC is Tough (none / 0) (#103)
by patina on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:01:34 PM EST

I like the BBC World Service because the reporters ask tough questions.  They don't let themselves be manipulated as easily as NPR reporters, who too often come off as obsequious and fawning, especially when talking to government officials.  Additionally, the stories posted online are usually knowledgable and insightful.  Think of a subject you know well and compare the BBC coverage to your favorite American online source.  Admit it, their reporters are smart.  Finally, World Service is less sensationalistic than NPR.  

[ Parent ]
Hard to make generalizations... (none / 0) (#86)
by Optical on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:07:41 AM EST

...about PBS and NPR. It all depends on the station. I'm currently working just outside of DC. IMHO, the PBS and NPR stations around here have gone seriously downhill over the past several years, and I might be able to agree on some points that there is a serious lack of quality. But when I return home to central Virginia, there is a major jump in quality.

Remember that the individual stations pick which shows they actually air. FWIW, I have seen Nader and Edward Said on PBS numerous times. I have seen discussions of legalization of marijuana. OTOH, I've also seen discussions of American society by the religious right on PBS. NPR in the area tends to be similarly diverse.

If you have a problem with quality of your local NPR/PBS stations, give them a call and tell them what you think. Some of them may not listen, but a lot of them will.

--
"The resulting snakes are flaccid. In order to erect more rigid snakes, it is vital to use a more stable method that can accomodate the large internal forces."
-Kass et al, the International Journal of Computer Vision, 1988
[ Parent ]

NPR Links and Competition (3.85 / 7) (#45)
by Inhibit on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:06:14 PM EST

I listen to NPR. I even like some of their talk radio programs. But I'll never donate anything to them, and here's why...

A while ago, there were a few bills before congress to allow small time radio operators access to more spectrum. This would've allowed people to play with radio broadcasting kit and generally broadcast to the local area for fun. Some of the companies you'd suspect were against it, such as Clearchannel Communications and whichever radio corporations were around at the time, but so was NPR. NPR lobbied just as hard as anyone else to keep small time broadcasters off the air. Odd for "public" radio, huh?

The other issue is linking. NPR didn't allow any linking to or framing of it's website's articles, though this may have since changed.

So it seems to me like NPR applies the same strong-arm corporate tactics as it's more greedy brethren. I'll continue to support college radios that we've got in abundance in CT, USA. But not NPR.


-- Inhibit, PCBurn Linux hardware/software reviewer
Good Reason (5.00 / 2) (#47)
by herbietmac on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:18:01 PM EST

NPR actually conducted testing at a number of their stations before taking a position on this issue. It comes down to crowding. At the lower end of the FM spectrum (where most NPR stations reside) there is greater possibility of cross-talk and other interference. This was the reason why NPR opposed the bill. It is currently being re-written with NPR's help to eliminate this issue.

[ Parent ]
FCC 's page on LPFM Allegations and Facts (none / 0) (#106)
by marinel on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:41:53 PM EST

Here is the link to a March 2000 FCC page about LPFM Allegations and Facts:
http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Mass_Media/Factsheets/lpfmfact032900.html

From what I can gather, FCC claimed that crosstalk should not be a problem whilst it acked that it will "seriously review NPR's concerns" that there might be crosstalk problems with NPR's translators.

The latest on LPFM (including a LPFM station search): http://www.fcc.gov/lpfm/
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]

Low end of spectrum? Gimme a break! (none / 0) (#126)
by isdnip on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:38:08 PM EST

NPR fought LPFM because it didn't want competition, and because it wanted *wide* room around its stations, presumably to run paid subcarriers.  The low end of the FM band and the high end have identical bandwidth characteristics.

The main issue is over third-adjacent channels (600 kHz spacing).  The rules from the 1940s require protection, based on the old-fashioned "IF cans" in FM tube radios of the day.  Modern radios, except for the <$20 Chinese junk, have much better selectivity due to their ceramic filters.  I've had personal experience with FM stations (I was once an FM station's chief engineer) to verify the lack of trouble.  The FCC got it right, and Congress, protecting Clear Channel and NPR against competition, stole LPFM from the public.

I like NPR's programming and listen a lot, but I do resent their behavior on this and some other issues.

[ Parent ]

They backed off the linking thing (none / 0) (#93)
by Wah on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:27:11 AM EST

follow-up Wired article here. Personal commentary, here.. It should be noted that it was largely the backlash from the blogging communitity which helped to change their policy.
--
Where'd you get your information from, huh?
[ Parent ]
We have a pledge drive this week.. (2.33 / 3) (#48)
by Two Thumbs Fresh on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:21:17 PM EST

I'm just curious, does anyone here pledge to NPR? I don't.

"Friendship is like an ointment, when you've been stung by fifty bees."-Brak
I used to. (4.50 / 2) (#49)
by acceleriter on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:27:50 PM EST

But then they started posting shows in streaming-only, proprietary formats. (Yes, they can be captured, but it's a pain.)

Since they're supposedly non-profit, and definitely taxpayer/member supported, they should make their shows downloadable by the public that's paying their bills.

That, and those "sponsorship acknowledgements" are sounding more and more like commercials every day.

[ Parent ]

Yes [n/t] (none / 0) (#55)
by revscat on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:17:19 PM EST



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
yes (n/t) (none / 0) (#113)
by miles b on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:52:15 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Explicitly partisan papers (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by Scrymarch on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:33:46 PM EST

Admittedly that phrase is absurd today, but imagine if you will a world in which broadcast media distributers were accountable only to their audience, existing on the suffrage of the audience, and providing content demanded by the audience.

This seems almost a step back to an earlier news model - of partisan pamphlets pushing their variant of the news.  The ideal of journalistic objectivity stems in one version of the history from an move by newspapers to a mass audience.  The blandness of free-to-air TV news is precisely due to its relentlessly mainstream nature.

This step back wouldn't necessarily be bad if it was combined with a constant awareness of partisanship on the part of the reader / listener.  My only concern would be a tendency for factions to form closed intellectual groups, preaching the same sermons over to others in their stagnant meme pool.

Would XFM work for you? (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by skim123 on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:04:52 PM EST

This would enable you to listen to any XFM broadcasted NPR outlet anywhere, no? I'd assume at least one NPR station broadcasts to XFM... of course I may very well be wrong. Furthermore, I guess one could contend that, with the cost of getting XFM, you could have used that money to help NPR.

Do they still have "Mancow in the Morning" in KC? I remember listening to that show when driving to Overland Park back in '98.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


It's XM, not XFM (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by damiam on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:10:29 PM EST

And, IIRC, NPR has an exclusive deal with Sirius, so there's no NPR on XM.

[ Parent ]
I LOVE my NPR (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by artsygeek on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:06:30 PM EST

I'd die if I didn't have it, and because my car is currently devoid of a working stereo, I Jones all the way to home or to wherever I'm going until I can turn on my radio, or pop on some headphones and head for a library computer with Real Audio. My favorite shows (which my local affiliate WVTF doesn't carry) include "American Routes" and "This American Life"....I also like the Dian Rehm Show, and "Whaddya Know"....

As for NPR news censoring, well so do most of the other news outlets. NPR is a Center-Left source, while Pacifica is a Left source, Christian Radio tends to be Right, and regular talk tends to be Center-Right. CNN is Center-Left-with-a-desire-to-garner-rightwingers, Fox is far-Right, MSNBC is Centrist-mostly......

But, in all, NPR is the most tech-savvy, I mean where else do you get a major host interviewing Linus Torvalds? NPR also seems to lean towards the ideas that most techies have. But it also has a lot of great essays and analysis, which makes digesting that firehose of news that we get on the net a little easier. If you don't like what NPR does in terms of its "bias" WRITE TO THEM! Don't follow the commercial radio credo of "If you don't like it, change the channel". Continue supporting, write, and tell them, that as a loyal supporter that you really wish they'd change this or that.

CNN is right wing CNN is right wing (5.00 / 2) (#75)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:50:21 PM EST

CNN is Center-Left-with-a-desire-to-garner-rightwingers

Come on. CNN is far right. Admit it. It's not hard.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Not the CNN that comes out of Atlanta, anyway... (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by Dredd on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:15:57 AM EST

I don't know what CNN you're watching, but I'd never consider the "common" CNN, that most people would be familiar with, as "right-wing".

I'd say it goes a bit further left than the original poster did, actually.

D


[ Parent ]

Torvalds on Fresh Air (5.00 / 1) (#105)
by patina on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:22:10 PM EST

Are you talking about Linus being on Fresh Air?  Because you know the only reason Terry Gross interviewed Linus is because he put out a "memoir."  Compare this google to this one.  

I like Terry okay, but a techy?  Puh-lease.


[ Parent ]

A Little confused... (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by bsg on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:57:16 PM EST

In your post you state that Pacifica is a "Left source", but Fox is "far-right". You should at least be a little consistent with the labels. If you're going to label Fox as far-right, its only fair to call Pacifica far-left.

They both pander to their respective audiences, regardless of which stripe we are speaking of.

[ Parent ]

K5: The addiction (4.50 / 6) (#64)
by xriso on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:38:43 PM EST

This comment body intentionally left blank.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
If your support is derived from listeners (4.00 / 3) (#69)
by demi on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:54:21 PM EST

then you must cater to them, whether it be in a conscious way or an unconscious way. NPR and PBS have a small, loyal, and supportive core audience (viz., the people that send checks) that has kept them alive since the very beginning. However, the size of this core audience has not grown very much over the years, even though the overall audience for TV and radio has. They are faced with the problem of increasing costs associated with media production and broadcasting, with slow growth in their revenue stream. They are searching for ways to grow without compromising their mission, and if people don't pledge (viewer pledges make up about half of their total revenues), it's not yet clear what direction they will go in. Personally I am opposed to fully federal-supported media, just because it is destined to become as much of a political football as school administration (which is largely controlled at the state and local level, but IMAGINE what it would be like if the federal government was in charge). If people want PBS and NPR to survive and grow, they need to send in some money and tell their friends to do the same. If this cannot happen, then it was never meant to be IMO.

I perceive the internet culturati to be largely a group of people fed up of corporate schlock, not interested in bloated government, and yet intimately concerned about the state of the world.

The group you have circumscribed is (as of yet) a relatively tiny demographic group that takes its own importance faaaaar too seriously. There are certain trend-setting demographics that are similarly narrow, and understanding their preferences is a very useful marketing tool, but generally not lucrative in the short term. Think of the typical demographic groups that the networks pursue: average families, senior citizens, teenage boys, teenage girls, stay-at-home mothers, professional women, blacks, latinos, and so on... these groups each represent millions of viewers that actually pay for things with real money rather than bitch ceaselessly about commercialism. You can sell anti-commercial commercialism to any hipster with an Ikea catalog and a commercial for a VW diesel with a Nick Cave song playing in the background.

Today the masses are spoon fed whatever tripe, propoganda, or FUD the networks choose to cook that day.

I'm sorry, but you've got it wrong. The masses voluntarily feed themselves that garbage because it is designed to cater to their tastes. If anti-WTO, free Mumia, vegan, animal rights activists were a large, spendy, and interested demographic, then I can guarantee you that there would be quality network airtime devoted to telling them what they wanted to hear too.

exactly (none / 0) (#92)
by senjiro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:26:38 AM EST

What is missing from the NPR equation is a true enduser feedback mechanism. They rely too heavily on the marketing & demographic numbers for their focus, as opposed to opening the floor for user-driven feature requests.

However, the size of this core audience has not grown very much over the years

fortunately, that is very incorrect! From this page:
National Public Radio was founded on February 24, 1970, with 90 public radio stations as charter members. Today, NPR serves a growing audience of more than 20 million Americans each week via 680 public radio stations and the Internet and in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network, and throughout Japan via cable.

Your response on my culturati comment is definitely on target, but I'm trying to look down the road 5-10 years when the current generation of americans who grew up on the internet to become a true demographic for this. I'm 27 now, and think that this is the approximate age-group that NPR really begins to think they can get into their funding base. What I'm looking forward to are the folks who, unlike my generation, have been exposed enough to the realities of corporate America to spend their dollars more wisely when they get older. Perhaps I'm naively hoping (or challenging) the younger generation will *just say no* to the network drivel.


it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
[ Parent ]
NPR is middlebrow (3.40 / 5) (#72)
by xah on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:19:00 PM EST

NPR is middlebrow. It's pretty much the highpoint that many Americans currently aspire to reach, only because they do not know of anything better. If only we had a highbrow alternative, our cultural life would truly shine.

NPR is easy to criticize because it broadcasts some of the most bizarre news in the business. Admittedly, some of the perceived bizarreness is due to the lack of enunciation and bad pronunciation from many of the broadcasters and reporters. They don't speak English well enough. This is terribly unfortunate, for here in America our cultural leaders should uphold to the highest standards of the English language. The current situation is just the opposite, as the average American vocabulary shrinks year after year under the influence of pop culture and a certain politician in the Oval Office.

While off-topic, I must tell this: in a recent meeting between George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and Jacques Chirac, George W. took Tony Blair aside and said to him, "The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for 'entrepreneur.'" I laughed when I read that.

Allow me one example of NPR's middlebrow nature. Listening to NPR today, I heard a story about the government bailing out an airline with a big loan. The government agency, the "N-T-S-B" as I heard it, demanded that it take an ownership stake in the airline as collateral. Immediately, my pulse raced. I hopped out of my chair. The NTSB is the National Transportation Safety Board. If the NTSB took a financial stake in an airline, its economic interest would run counter to its mission of promoting safety in transportation, in this case air transportation. In a curious, crestfallen mindset, I wandered over to my computer and searched Google's news interface. Eventually, I learned that the NTSB was not involved at all, and that it was the ATSB, the Aviation Transportation Stabilization Board, that demanded the collateral. The ATSB has nothing to do with the NTSB. The ATSB would not have a conflict of interest in holding that collateral. No explanation of the ATSB was given on NPR, or at least I heard none. Nor did the NPR reporter properly enunciate the acronym, at least to my satisfaction. After nearly having a heart attack, I was greatly calmed by the results of my Internet search. For its lack of enunciation, NPR made me less informed, contrary to its mission.

There are many horror stories I could recount regarding NPR's uncanny broadcasts. All right, I will give one more example. In today's broadcast, All Things Considered reported that conservative members of Congress were blaming the criminal activity of the executives of large corporations like Enron and WorldCom on the moral climate that the Clinton Administration was said to have ushered in. After reporting that, they played a sound clip of a Republican Congressman saying that the Senate should hurry up and pass a bill. So where is the Republican blaming Enron on Clinton's sexual peccadilloes? I want to hear that statement, because, at least from my political perspective, and I'm sure that of many other patriotic Americans, such a statement would be outrageous and bizarre. Unfortunately, NPR did not run the clip, a decision that makes their reporter's statement, and not that of the Congressman's, sound bizarre.

Though I am loath to admit it, many NPR stories stoke great flames of anger in me. Yet, numerous others leave me utterly bored. The point is that NPR is not a superb news agency like the BBC. Yes, the BBC has faults but at least one need not consult the Internet after listening to unclog one's arteries.

My last critique of NPR is its religious devotion to the "say cow, hear cow" maxim. In the radio business, this means that whenever the radio announcer says the word "cow," a cow related sound must be heard. This could be a "moo" or something else. Whenever the announcer says the word "truck" (AKA "lorry"), a truck related sound is heard. And so on. I challenge you to listen closely for this the next time you listen to NPR. It is utterly maddening. The sound effects in general on NPR tend to drive me far away, all the way to AM talk radio. If the sound effect is not the horribly over-amplified sound of water pouring into a glass, or the shriek of a phone ringer, it is the ungodly sound of the "six tone car alarm," a plague be on the house of its inventor.

Furthermore, NPR's Fresh Air, an interview program for celebrities, runs occasionally a piece by a so-called "rock historian." Today he played some interesting yet musically dreadful pieces by the predecessors of the Byrds. While it was mildly amusing, how can it possibly be justified that a rock historian of all people gets on the air? This is a country where more people know about the Blue Men than know when the War of 1812 occurred, yet there is so much unfulfilled demand for education and learning from all parts of our society. A rock historian? How about telling America who James Madison was?

All the same, I'll continue to listen to NPR, and contribute to their cause. Were they to disappear, there would be almost nothing left to keep American culture from degenerating into a pointless series of magic lantern galleries, Punch and Judy shows, and the nightly news brought to you by our nation's drug dealers, I mean, pharmaceutical companies. For all its faults, NPR is still better than the rest. I would probably be a more generous giver, though, if they spoke proper English and cut most of the sound effects out.

One more mostly unrelated aside: Maryland Public Television utterly betrayed Louis Ruykeyser by firing him. I will not forget what they did to him. Whoever fired Ruyk should themselves be relieved of employment. I hope that NPR respects their on-air talent better than Maryland Public Television does theirs.

Of course, I would dearly love for there to be a highbrow alternative to take the cultural lead away from NPR, John Stossel, Kid Rock, and the dreadful rest. Someone mentioned XM. XM does have a lot of potential. Perhaps on one of their thousands of channels, they could broadcast highly distinctive material. I hope such a thing, or something else of merit, carries through.

well that explains (none / 0) (#85)
by squinky on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:26:48 AM EST

why the market is in the toilet.

It will never recover if Lou's on permanent vacation.

[ Parent ]

Ruyk's now on CNBC (none / 0) (#120)
by xah on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:54:43 PM EST

He got hired by CNBC and his show will run there at about the same time on Friday evenings as it used to on PBS. Plus, a lot of PBS stations will pick his show up and re-run it that weekened. Slate posted a good review of Ruyk's new show yesterday.

[ Parent ]
The Problem with Charities (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by Jah-Wren Ryel on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:34:14 AM EST

In the US, if you give money to a charity or non-profit group, you get put on a list.  At a minimum you will get mailings begging for more money for that charity.  Often your name and address end up on a list that the charity sells to "like-minded" charities.  Depending on the charity's scruples and their desperation for money, you can end up on "sucker lists" for nearly any kind of fund-raiser under the sun.

It is very difficult, often impossible to make donations without being recorded.  Most won't take cash and your check must have your name and address on it, and credit cards give away your private details all the time.

So, I find myself giving to very few charities because I can not trust them to respect my privacy.  I recognize that this is a vicious circle, the less people give, the more desperate a charity is going to be to get "creative" and come up with ways to get more money.  But I have yet to find a mainstream charity that pledges not to hound me for further donations and not to pass my information on to others to do the same.

My solution has been to give money through my employer - using them as a firewall between me and the charity, but that only works for a limited number of affiliated charities and some of those charities (united way, cough, cough) have got their hooks so deep in employers that it is even worse than making personal donations directly to a "regular" charity.

Donor Lists (none / 0) (#108)
by patina on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:58:02 PM EST

I lost a lot of respect for wgbh after I found they were swapping donor lists.  Current.org, which covers public broadcasting, has run some stories about it.  They reported that the practice has been banned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Here's the relevant interpretation of the ammendment to the Communications Act of 1934


The Corporation, following consultation with the national membership organizations and representatives of the station community, has determined that grantees should not engage in the exchange, rental, or sale of donor or member names to, from or with any candidate for public office, committees or organizations supporting a candidate, political parties, or organizations that solicit funds for use in political campaigns . Such practices undermine the public trust, and are inconsistent with the public interest in public broadcasting.


[ Parent ]
The problem with NPR (2.33 / 3) (#78)
by bouncing on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:48:58 AM EST

Everyone has probably heard this before, but NPR is simply not objective. Most of their news coverage is accurate, although not all of it. Their editorials are consistently liberal, as are their guests. It is good that they do a reasonably good job of keeping editorial and news coverage seporate (something most commercial news companies do not do).

But that's really the only reason I don't donate. I want a balance of left, right, and wacko in my editorials. Ultimately the only way to get this is to watch Fox News after driving home listening to NPR. Fox News, of course, is delivered more like a WWF match than a news program, though.

there is no such thing as objective coverage (3.00 / 1) (#79)
by gps on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:17:53 AM EST

NPR cators to its target audience that will generate the most revenue for it. That's just the same as any other station, except they do it with a much lower percentage of advertising. (yes, they -DO- advertise. all those annoying "sponsored by this company that tells us we have to say 'they save babies and dolphins' or they won't give us more money, even though they make polluting chemicals" spots between shows).

[ Parent ]
I knew (none / 0) (#89)
by senjiro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:08:35 AM EST

that we'd have a few who pointed out that glaring inconsistency in my post! I willingly admit that NPR has a distinct tilt to a lot of their content. There are times, however few, that I'll get so annoyed as to just switch the damn radio off. However, again at least in my market, it stands without alternative, and I think they do a pretty good job of keeping things fair. If we could get the balance that you describe, I wouldn't have struggled with donating for the last 10 years :-)


it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
[ Parent ]
WTF means "liberal"??? (5.00 / 2) (#98)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:50:36 AM EST

NPR is simply not objective. ... Their editorials are consistently liberal, as are their guests.
PEEVE: I simply can't stand these kinds of polarizations: liberal/conservative, or right/left, or "both sides of the aisle" meaning, republician vs. democrat. Humans are a multi-colored rainbow in 12 dimensions. These polarization are simplistic and harmful.
Ultimately the only way to get this is to watch Fox News after driving home listening to NPR.
Fox News! For balance!!!??? This is like treating gonorreah with a dose of syphilis, just to "round it out". WWF is right, bro. But there are certain views that you will never hear on either NPR/PBS or Fox: the voice of radical dissent. The voice of pacifists: people who oppose violence and oppose the war, or all wars (including the drug war).

Reason: PBS and NPR are funded by, and endeared to the SAME CORPORATIONS WHICH FUND FOX NEWS. These include defense contractors (hmmm... could this be why we don't hear about peace???) and pharmeceutical corporations (hmmm. could this be why we don't hear about people opposing the Drug War?)

We need non-commercial media. We need community media. We need true listener-funded media. We need low-power FM. We need Public Access Television.

Don't hate the media; BECOME THE MEDIA! -- Jello Biafra


--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
listen closer (none / 0) (#99)
by senjiro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:56:58 AM EST

But there are certain views that you will never hear on either NPR/PBS or Fox: the voice of radical dissent. The voice of pacifists: people who oppose violence and oppose the war, or all wars (including the drug war).

apparently you don't listen that often, I can think of several editorials in the past two weeks speaking against action in the middle east, against action in Afghanistan, and in the past 2 months against the drug war. Let us not use the term liberal as your comments about polarization are valid. Let us say instead that many of the views espoused on NPR are certainly more inline with humanism than capitalism. And again I'm not saying there NPR is perfect, just that it's the best alternative. Whatever you say about low power FM and community radio is great, but there's no way that you local community radio station is going to have live coverage from Somalia. Hence, it would be lessened.


it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
[ Parent ]
Is this the same NPR.... (4.00 / 1) (#107)
by Count Zero on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:54:25 PM EST

That I hear spokesmen from the Cato institute on daily? The same NPR who has people on Brit Hume's show's panel discussions on Fox News (prominantly labled as "NPR correspondants") regularly arguing a conservative viewpoint? (Hume's panels are a total joke, 9 times out of 10, everyone on the panel agrees about the issue being discussed, but that's another story).

Not that I'm saying NPR is conservative, they are clearly not. I'd say they're one of the least biased news organizations because I regularly hear liberal and conservative points of view. I agree with your point about wanting to hear both sides. CNN's Crossfire is a good show for this, even though it does also have that "wrestling match" flair to it.




[ Parent ]
Again with those funny words! (5.00 / 1) (#118)
by ip4noman on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:40:18 PM EST

I am not liberal or conservative. I can't even get someone to define those terms. They are simplistic and harmful.

But there are 10,000 viewpoints you will NEVER hear on NPR. The progressives, the freaks, the weirdos, the peacenicks, marijuana/hemp advocates, vegetarians, etc. etc. etc.

PS: I have heard a few good speakers from Cato (including a guy [Dan Griswold perhaps??] on CSPAN arguing for open borders -- excellent!), but Cato for the most part is pretty dull. They genrally say the right things, but they just lack balls, IMHO. They equating individual freedom with "free markets" is a little scary, and to me sounds like "I don't want no goddamn pinko liberals interfering with me buying and selling slaves if I wanna!"

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
down with NPR (4.50 / 8) (#80)
by turmeric on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:31:01 AM EST

first off, NPR was against low power FM, for the most idiotic of reasons.

second off, NPR monopolizes college radio at the expense of local content and student shows

third off, NPR has ties to the 'voice of america', a propaganda wing of the DOD/State/Pentagon/etc etc etc.

fourth off, there are better alternatives, like Pacifica (www.pacifica.org) that havent managed to bully their way into your car radio like NPR has

OK actually NPR has some good stuff. too bad it got greedy.

Pacifica (none / 0) (#101)
by perdida on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:33:48 PM EST

I agree, but I listen to both of them. No pacifica station here in Cleveburgh - they do have 2 hours of Democracy Now! on the college station in the AM. Furthermore, Diane Rehm had Howard Zinn on yesterday!


The most adequate archive on the Internet.
I can't shit a hydrogen fuel cell car. -eeee
[ Parent ]

Crack (3.66 / 3) (#83)
by spottedkangaroo on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:15:10 AM EST

Yes, NPR is like crack. If it wasn't for NPR I would not survive my 1 hour car trips to and from work every damn day. It's the only thing that kept me sane last year as I'm otherwise prone to rage driving as a form of entertainment.

I drive quite calmly (though still very fast) while listening to NPR. I think it's because I have something else to think about.

So, when they come on the air asking for donations? Twice a year, I shell out my $40. It's good for me, good for my sanity, and for god sakes, let's keep the roads safe from me. :)

Obsolete and Dangerous (1.66 / 6) (#90)
by Baldrson on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:14:43 AM EST

When we were getting the rural girls to move to the Boston - Washington DC corridor to be bent over nth-story corner-office desks and receive the light from the east, NPR was a good thing. It got girls at land grant colleges in the midwest to think people like Susan Stanburg and Marau Laiason were role models.

Now, however, with the bulk of boomer females reaching menopause, the demolition of fuck-doll-world is proceeding as scheduled. Let's not get in the way of liquidating the infrastructure of which NPR and WTC were a part. It has served its purpose and the danger is that now Arabs are threatening to take over the dominant position as the new light from the east.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


Supported, but no more. (4.50 / 2) (#97)
by MactireDearg on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:48:06 AM EST

I used to support my local NPR station. Then they quit running traffic reports during rushhour. I called up and inquired why they had dropped this very helpful service. Did I get a reasonable answer like the local centralized traffic reports had gotten too expensive?

Nope. I was told the station manager didnt like the guy who ran the report service so he didnt renew the contract.

I decided I didnt like the station manager so I didnt renew my 'membership'.

If you must make mistakes, it is more to your credit to make a new one each time. - Unknown

So, do you still listen? (none / 0) (#137)
by jolly st nick on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 04:15:02 PM EST

If so,which programs to you listen to? Fresh Air? send your check to WHYY.

[ Parent ]
What NPR needs to do to stay competitive (3.80 / 5) (#100)
by Wah on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:25:31 PM EST

I've been listening fairly consistently for the last year or so.  While I like a lot of the programs they air, I'm not very happy with their Internet strategy, or lack there-of.  Their dedication to the Real Media format is unfortunate.   Streaming is a useful technology, but seems to me that it is more expensive and less versatile than downloads.  Plus, Real has been steadily moving away from offering free players (check their site and see how many clicks it takes to find and install the free player), and their software has taken a number of cues from AOL and tries to take over a home machine, from file formats to startup.

But this is a side note to the real problem (as is the linking thing they finally found a clue about), they need to embrace Open Media.  They need to offer a better service for the price.  They need to leverage open networks to get more people exposed to the service they provide.  This could be accomplished in three easy steps.  First, offer all their content in downloadable MP3 format.  Second, encourage the use of P2P networks to distribute the media.  Third, include a message in each download that mention that while the content is free, it is still copywritten and donations can be accepted at NPR.org.   Three and a half, make it easy to donate (again, how many clicks from the front page to the donation box).

These strategies offers a number of advantages. One, they are more inline with a core audience that appreciates their service.  Lots and lots of free promotion through donated bandwidth and server space.  Exposure to an audience outside of the radio station or direct web site interaction. This is probably the biggest advantage, NPR is a pretty weak brand for people unaware of the quality work they produce.  This quality will not be lost through digital transmission and it, frankly, targets their future audience, tech-aware college student.

It does take a rather large leap of faith, and there are not insignificant legal hurdles, but I think it would help to do what they do best.  Also, it would be a stronger argument to increase public funding, since they would be less corporate in their treatment of digital artifacts and intellectual property.

Also, since I'm going on about it.  The BBC and CBC should do the same thing.  I'd love to be able to run a little script and download a 5 minute synopsis of the days events from three independent, international, news sources.
--
Where'd you get your information from, huh?

yeah (none / 0) (#122)
by anon868 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 06:25:28 PM EST

CBC is really the only one of the above that I listen to, but it would be really great if they would offer downloadable MP3's. CBC is getting slightly better, Workology is one program that does have downloadable versions of their shows, but they're all real audio (I use Total Recorder & convert them to MP3). Other shows like As It Happens at least have links to listen to old shows, but now downloads. I guess with a non commercial company, there's just no pressure to keep up with technology.
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]
I'm curious (none / 0) (#128)
by Wah on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:53:34 PM EST

(I use Total Recorder & convert them to MP3)

What do you do with them after that?  Just curious.  I actually haven't been scanning gnutella and such lately for stuff like this (or at all, really).  Although I bet it is out there.  They could even run their own servers to make sure there was a fresh supply of tagged files.  And to get a feel for the popularity of various shows in one condensed medium.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

mp3's (none / 0) (#132)
by anon868 on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 10:51:51 PM EST

Once I convert them to mp3 I burn them to cd & play them on my portable CD-MP3 player. I'm not ok Kazaa very often so they probably wouldn't show up there.
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]
Downloadable NPR (none / 0) (#124)
by dumbass on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:03:43 PM EST

Most NPR programs are available in downloadable format, however you have to go to Audible and pay a small fee to do so -- or you can buy a subscription to the program.

[ Parent ]
NPR and Howard (3.00 / 1) (#102)
by mikepence on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:44:05 PM EST

I alternate between NPR and Howard Stern. It seems a bit schizophrenic...but then so am I.

Multiple personality disorder! [n/t] (none / 0) (#133)
by lumen on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 11:11:20 PM EST



[ Parent ]
pacifica (4.00 / 2) (#104)
by rhyax on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:18:17 PM EST

if you are lucky enough to live in an area that has a pacifica radio affiliate then you should definitely give it a listen, during rush hour they usually do BBC world report, followed by democracy now. it seems very good to be, it is publicly funded and more transparent than NPR and doesn't seem to have as many corporate backers and stranger midwest bias. anyway, try it out :)

wbai (none / 0) (#121)
by anon868 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 05:55:26 PM EST

But you may want to look into the struggle that WBAI in New York had with the pacifica management. Numerous long time radio hosts were fired, Pacifica tried to dictate what could and could not be said on the air. Numerous protests and lawsuits ensued. www.wbai.org used to be a good site for info, but I can't seem to get to it right now. If you go to www.2600.com and read through the news archives you'll get a pretty clear idea of what happened. (Off The Hook is a radio show broadcast on WBAI by the author of 2600 magazine).
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]
Also KPFK in Los Angeles (none / 0) (#139)
by broken77 on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 05:46:49 PM EST

The same thing happened at KPFK. Honestly, I like the station better since Pacifica had their coup. Yes, it was essentially a coup-style takeover, done through the courts. Keep in mind that they won the court cases, meaning a judge agreed with them. There is was a lot of intense fighting over this issue earlier this year. Marc Cooper was one of the most vocal critics of the takeover at KPFK. It's funny how these guys claim that every situation needs active debate, yet when Pacifica tried to take back KPFK, they would not discuss the takover on the air. They merely propagandized and said "Please help us, we're being taken over! The evil Pacifica is creating a coup against us!" But they woulnd't say anything beyond that...

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Pacifica (none / 0) (#129)
by subgenius on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 07:36:18 AM EST

Oh, yes. I have listened to Pacifica since 1967 in Houston when it was not unusual to find them not on the air because the transmitter had been bombed by the KKK and others. They were definitly left biased then and seem a lot more mellow now. While I know of no total Pacifica station in Austin, some like koop will do Pacifica news and some other things.

Long Live Pacifica.

Drive On!
Drive On!
[ Parent ]

I will never support National Public Radio (3.00 / 2) (#109)
by Fon2d2 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:58:16 PM EST

Not in its current form, for at least three reasons.

1. NPR broadcast is woefully underpowered with choppy static appearing on the FM dial seemingly no matter where you are. Also, being underpowered contributes badly to the strong dynamic contrast that appears in much of classical music. When adjusted so that the loudest parts are played at a sane decibel level, the quiet parts become inaudible over any semi-noisy environment. The reverse, adjusting the volume so the quiet parts are audible, is far worse when a composition suddenly becomes very loud.

2. Talk. NPR has lots of talk. Insane amounts of talk. They will talk for minutes on end about the composer, and his life, and the stylistic content, and his influences, and the group that played it, and so on and so on. Yesterday it was a description of a marimba for people who had never seen one before. Big frickin deal. Beyond the composer and the title of the piece, I do not give a shit.

3. Content. Admittedly, this is the weakest reason but there are still lots of times I do not care at all for what's being played on NPR. Sometimes it seems they play pieces more for novelty than musical pleasure. This is not to my liking.

Re: I will never support National Public Radio (none / 0) (#116)
by CompUComp on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:09:22 PM EST

1. NPR broadcast is woefully underpowered with choppy static appearing on the FM dial seemingly no matter where you are. Also, being underpowered contributes badly to the strong dynamic contrast that appears in much of classical music. When adjusted so that the loudest parts are played at a sane decibel level, the quiet parts become inaudible over any semi-noisy environment. The reverse, adjusting the volume so the quiet parts are audible, is far worse when a composition suddenly becomes very loud.

In Rochester, NY, it has a nice strong signal in the AM dial (WXXI AM - 1370 AM) and what does classical music have to do with any of it, besides "Sunday Baroque, The National Symphony, Thistle & Shamrock" isn't most of NPR's content talk.

---
Howard Dean 2004
[ Parent ]

Stop being a weenie (none / 0) (#117)
by lvogel on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:40:01 PM EST

1. There are three answers to this problem: location, location, location. Different regions have different signal strengths. I don't think this is NPR's fault. Perhaps you should donate a stronger transmitter?

2. NPR != Burger King. You don't always get it to your discreet liking. That's more of a strength than a weakness -- hopefully you'll learn something that way. Hopefully your first lesson will be respect for issues in which you do not give a shit.

3. The first two were pretty weak too. Why don't you go take your Paxil and take a nap or something?
-- ----------------------
"When you're on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog!"

-a dog
[ Parent ]

Paxil is for anxiety (none / 0) (#119)
by Fon2d2 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:53:03 PM EST

Perhaps you're thinking of Ritalin.

[ Parent ]
Audio quality not entirely their fault (none / 0) (#134)
by blisspix on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:03:32 AM EST

If the signal sounds weak in your area, this is not the station's fault. Power is determined by a national licensing authority, I'm not sure who this is in the US. You may be unfortunate in that the only station near you is not permitted to operate on high power. For example, the station I work is only allowed to put out 100W which is nothing compared to commerical stations, which put out signals that are 200-300 times as strong (and expensive to operate.

Also, the equipment needed to produce better sound is so expensive that it's not worth having if you are not 24 hours on one type of music. Compressors, microwave transmitter links, even the quality of the CD players you're using all play a part and all cost way too much to bother.

[ Parent ]

NPR != "public radio classical music" (none / 0) (#135)
by stevegt on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 02:27:22 AM EST

Don't confuse NPR with a poor quality public radio station's local programming.

It sounds like you're listening to a local public radio station which has virtually no money: low broadcast power, can only afford classical music (copyright expired and/or no royalty) for programming, can't afford to get interesting guests into the studio.  Pretty normal for a public radio station that's been essentially abandoned by its local community.  (Or you might be listening to WNYC -- lost its city hall funding in the mid-90's, still getting its subscribership up, lost an antenna on WTC.)

I agree with you; that is not an interesting station.  But it's not NPR either: NPR does not do classical music programming.  NPR specializes in news, educational talk shows like Car Talk, Forum, Talk of the Nation, and Science Friday.  Then there's MPR (Minnesota Public Radio), carried by better NPR affiliates, which produces very good shows, including Prarie Home Companion and Marketplace.

If you aren't hearing these on your local station, blame your community, blame yourself.  It's not correct, though, to blame NPR or the other national programming sources that your station isn't carrying.


[ Parent ]

NPR does do classical music programming (none / 0) (#136)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 03:06:47 PM EST

Performance Today, etc. WETA carries NPR's classical shows during the day, and in the late evening.

On weekends the Maryland NPR station carries a locally produced blugrass show.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

Just started listening (4.50 / 2) (#112)
by El Volio on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:45:46 PM EST

This article got me started listening to NPR (KERA 90.1 in Dallas, where it's popularly referred to as "National People's Radio"). I'm still checking it out, but I have to say that at least now I understand the k5 - NPR comparisons. Actually, usually I listen to sports talk radio (call it escapism) when I listen to the radio, but I think I may like this after all.

And I don't need to listen to something that repeats opinions I already have. While I personally am not particularly interested in the extremes of the political spectrum, I find it intriguing to hear other points of view. Too bad so many k5'ers are upset with NPR because it doesn't spouse the same opinions they already hold. That's why I read k5, too -- I disagree with many of the things that are said, but (for example) it's the only contact I really have with vegetarians. We should value the opportunity to interact with people who think differently.

Matching Grants (5.00 / 2) (#114)
by miles b on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:06:05 PM EST

Well, I'm not going to argue over the merits of NPR.  I personally find that it's the only radio station worth listening to in St. Louis, with the possible exception of WSIE, which is a college jazz station.  Anyway, if you are considering supporting NPR, I encourage you to wait until they've got a good matching grant going during the pledge drive.  I did so, and although I pledged $40, they ended up getting a total of $380.  Here's why - I  was a new member, and I signed up online.  All new members pledging online were automatically matched by some .com digital media company.  Then at the time I pledged, they had some local graduate school of management on, and they were doing a matching grant for all new members who pledged during that hour, and they were contributing $300 for each new member.  I'm thinking it may actually be beneficial for them to let my membership lapse and only contribute every-other year.  Anyway, I'm glad that I did it.  The one gripe that I have about the NPR station in St. Louis is that it is ALL talk during week days, and although they do cover some great issues, I do like to listen to music on the radio every once in a while.

I've actually had to stop listening to NPR in the morning while getting ready to go to work, because I would get so wrapped up in it that I would leave the house late, and my boss wasn't too happy about that.

What makes NPR worthy? (2.50 / 2) (#127)
by DesScorp on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:11:30 PM EST

Why should I give money to NPR? Though they don't have as many ads as other stations, they do have what are in reality ads. I don't like the political tilt of their stories. And frankly, I'm getting tired of the guilt trip that public broadcasting puts on people. For tv, I've allready voted with my dollars, and watch A&E, Discovery, CSPAN, etc. Sorry folks, but pay cable education tv is vastly superior to NPR. If I had a similar choice, I might do the same for radio (XM notwithstanding). Now, perhaps most people here at K5 like NPR's tilt. Fine and dandy, write them a check. But NPR is no more worthy of my dollars than any other broadcaster. The notion that they're independant is ludicrous. I think both the left and the right agree on THAT. It seems that NPR can't really please anyone here. The hard left think they're corporate shills. The hard right think they're a socialist conspiracy. I just think they're left of center, self serving, and more than a little arrogant about their own self importance. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will not wither and die if NPR goes the way of the Dinosaur. Nor will freedom of the press. To hear them say it, you'd think the British were coming back to impose the Stamp Act on us if they go off the air. Basically, Car Talk is NPR's only redeeming value.
Go straight to Hell; Do not pass Go, Do not collect 200 Dollars
Why accept this argument ? (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by mami on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 10:18:42 AM EST

Many people have suggested solutions for the dilemna. The Canadian Broadcasting Company is funded primarily through canadian tax dollars. Likewise, the BBC derives it's funding from the citizens' paycheck. While both of these broadcast systems are in themselves excellent, and indeed analogous to NPR, I doubt that a purely tax driven revenue model would work in the US. First and foremost it would make NPR accountable to one of the primary news creation entities in the US, and arguably one of the most evil.

I don't know any American couldn't be ashamed of accepting this argumentation as a justification to fail to provide a solid, public interest broadcasting entity. If there were not C-SPAN and what is left from public TV and NPR, the US would be close to a "propaganda broadcast media land".

There is some good news reporting on MSNBC and sometimes on CNN, but completely lost under a huge pile of a messy, sensationalized, cheap crap and ads.

Oops...exit stage left (none / 0) (#131)
by jaymz168 on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 12:56:59 PM EST

You mean this isn't "propaganda broadcast media land?"

[ Parent ]
New name for National Public Radio (none / 0) (#140)
by NoNeckJoe on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 07:07:35 PM EST

National Promo Radio

A minor, yet promising update (none / 0) (#141)
by senjiro on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 08:34:27 AM EST

As many pointed out, NPR has/had a rather cavemanesque linking policy to their website npr.org. They have now changed their Terms Of Use. Essentially NPR now freely supports linking to the site! More information can be found in this notice.


it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
NPR: The addiction | 141 comments (113 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
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