Sunday, March 31, 2013

A sure sign that NPR is out of touch with listeners

More and more, NPR is about taking the "Public" out of National Public Radio.  That's why, for example, they're ending Talk of the Nation which they bill as "a call-in show."  That's the real reason.

You can always count on David Folkenflick to lie and he did so on Morning Edition Friday (link is text and audio):

You know, if you think about NPR's show - it distributes THE DIANE REHM SHOW out of Washington, ON POINT out of WBUR itself, that TALK OF THE NATION is no longer quite as distinctive and they wanted a show that could bridge the gap in those hours between the end of the last run of MORNING EDITION and the first run of ALL THINGS CONSIDERED in the afternoon that could respond perhaps more quickly to developing news. They thought this format (unintelligible) the new show out of BUR might help do that.

Check out this illustration.


First off, as NPR listener Anne Pancella observed about the claim that NPR has so many call-in shows, "Diane Rehm is the only one that comes to mind, and how much longer can she keep going?"  Or, as Trina would ask, how much longer should she be allowed to stay on air?  She'll turn 77 this year.  Secondly, most stations either carry Diane Rehm's show or On Point -- few carry both.  But guess what all carry?  That's right.  Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

The magazine format with the giggly hosts dumbing down news and thinking they're cute?  It's already done to death and Tell Me More struggles to add stations (their most recent stab at another magazine show).

Plus, as Betty points out, "They just killed off science."

In a nation where science regularly is ignored despite all the proclamations that America needs to increase its science skills, that the future will depend upon it, NPR's taking the axe to the only program that provides science every week: Talk of the Nation Science Friday.

NPR maintains Science Friday will live on in another form.  Really?

With the egos of these on-airs and none really prone to science we're supposed to believe another show will make a serious commitment to including science and keep it for more than six months?

Keep dreaming.

This is part of the general sneering at the public that's taking place at NPR.  

You can catch it all over.  We caught it March 22nd on the first hour of The Diane Rehm Show as 
Tom Gjelten, Julie Hirschfeld Davis (Bloomberg News), Michael Scherer (Time) and Jerry Seib (Wall St. Journal) pretended to provide a public affairs discussion about sequestration . . . while ignoring the public.  How bad was it? 

Half way in, guest host Gjelten had to clear the air:

Welcome back. I'm Tom Gjelten, sitting in today for Diane Rehm. By the way, Diane Rehm is at East Tennessee State University, not East Tennessee University as we mistakenly said at the top of the show -- East Tennessee State University. She will be back on Monday. Meanwhile, we're holding down the fort here: Jerry Seib from The Wall Street Journal, Julie Hirschfeld Davis from Bloomberg News and Michael Scherer from Time magazine, and we're discussing the domestic news of the week. We have a number of emails. You know, the Diane Rehm show is a national show, but we obviously have a lot of listeners in the D.C. metropolitan area. And many of our listeners would be affected by the sequestration cuts that would hurt the -- cut into the employment roles, the -- in federal agencies. And I want to read, "It was exasperating."  This is from A. Leonard, "It was exasperating to hear folks in "The Diane Rehm Show" discuss sequestration from such an impersonal view. Would you be so calm if your salary were going to get a 20 percent cut as DOD," that'd be Pentagon, "civilian workers are facing?" "Why is no one," this is a note from Ed, "Why is no one talking about the 800,000 people who are about to have their salaries slashed by 20 percent?"  Another one from Brian, who says, "I'm a government employee and planning for a minimum 20 percent pay cut." All right. So there's a whole stack of emails here from people who are going to see their pay cut -- going to possibly see pay cut although, Julie, we don't know yet, for example, whether or -- when or maybe even whether those cuts are going to take effect. Is that right? Well, that's right. I mean, that's right to some extent. I think some of the furlough notices haven't gone out yet. But certainly there will be furloughs, there will be people who'll see their salaries cut. There will be people who see their unemployment payments cut as well if this continues. And so, you know, we shouldn't downplay the impact of that for people who will feel it.

And the mop up above?  Pretty bad.  One of the e-mails?  From a federal worker but he doesn't work in DC.  Tom Gjelten is such an idiot that he fails to grasp there are federal jobs all over America -- not just in DC.

What a moron.

To be clear, there are times to remove shows and good reasons too.  If this were a Pacifica Radio show, we'd probably be less concerned.  While both are public radio, NPR is a different model.  Meaning NPR does not broadcast, it makes programming that it offers to radio stations who then pay for it.  Point being, there's no reason to discontinue Talk of the Nation right now.

If you think that what NPR listeners want is another magazine show, offer them Here and Now for a year and Talk of the Nation for a year.  After 12 months, see which one is being carried by more stations and reaching more listeners and then you make the decision to take the axe to one.

But that would be allowing the public a say in National Public Radio and, let's face it, that's the last thing NPR wants to do.
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