Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Free Public Radio From Federal Funding

There are few bigger fans of public radio than the Gruntleds. We start our day with "Morning Edition" each day. We are donors every year. Local public radio stations are the best network of local political reporting. Our local station, WUKY, has the best mix of music during the day. I have long advised students to begin each day with "National Professors Radio," just as most of their teachers do.

I think public radio would be better off if it were freed from federal funding.

Members like me can and should support the best news network on American radio. Rich people who like depth reporting should endow their local station and the whole network for everyone.

Moreover, National Public Radio would be better off if it were free from the endless threats from its opponents.

The time has come. Free Public Radio from Federal Fetters.


Sookie said...

NPR doesn't "need" the federal funds. What it will never willingly give up is its government imprimatur. Which lends unfair gravitas to the group.
I too love NPR and would gladly donate if it were no longer "government"radio.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I'm tired of my hard-earned dollars supporting ultra-liberal radio.

Gruntled said...

NPR is somewhat left of center, but definitely not ultra-liberal. It tries very hard to be non-ideological. I think if they were free from government support they might actually become somewhat more liberal.

I don't think NPR ever has, or draws on, a government imprimatur. I do think they take their "public" role seriously.

Whit said...

I think NPR is Left, but not far out. And I like to listen for variety and because, Left or Right, they have a lot of smart people and cover things most media do not. I think they get a reputation for being further out than they are from things like the Juan Williams incident.

And I agree that we don't need a tax dollar supported medium, especially now with the internet. And freeing NPR may give it room to move to the Left. But great, the more voices the better. If you want Left, listen to or watch the BBC, which I also enjoy.

I don't know how you test your own thinking unless you listen to the other side from time to time.

Victoria Wheeler said...

I asked a friend who works for a public radio station (and has for several years, leading many of their funding drives) what she thought about this entry. This is what she said:

I can see the professor's point about content being less-controlled, but the portion of funding that the government covers (about 10%) will have to be filled by someone else, whether it be a licensor, sponsors, or the listeners, so there's always going to be someone holding money over a station's head to prevent complete freedom. Then again, that's part of what makes public radio good - its programming is relevant but doesn't take a stance or an agenda.

Do I think the fed should cut funding to public broadcasting? No way. But everything worth having seems to go the way of the dodo in America - arts education, assistance for the less fortunate, privacy.

The smaller-market stations are really going to feel that 10%. Listeners can be great about stepping up to help, but you can't always count on that, especially in a crappy economy.

Just thought I'd post for general knowledge.