Before I get too far into this, I would like to point out that the only radio station I listen to with any regularity is my local public radio station, WUFT. So, I’m not writing this article as someone that knows nothing of public radio. Also, my problems with it are not political, as I am not some wild rightwinger. No, here are my reasons.
I don’t know what public radio’s mission is and I’m not going to look it up. What I will say is that, having listened to a great deal of it in the car with my dad as a kid, I got the impression that there was supposed to be some sort of commitment to the fine arts, or culturally relevant arts that might not be widely disseminated in a commercial capacity (largely, (Western) classical music and jazz). Well, if that’s the case, then public radio in Florida has completely fallen off the boat, as my station no longer PLAYS ANY GODDAMN MUSIC. Except for a few weekly specialty shows, classical and jazz music have been removed and we’ve been left with an all-talk format.
And what a bunch of piece of crap talk-based shows. Granted, it’s not all bad, but a lot of it is. Diane Rehm is awful – a terrible, underinformed interviewer that I imagine thinks of herself as a radio Larry King. This American Life is grating. Ira Glass should not be allowed anywhere near a microphone and the pettiness of the topics that his show covers is unforgivable, even if it is intentional. Additionally, it should be called This New York Life, as an inordinate number of the lame stories originate there.
I’m forever annoyed by the sad and constant attempts to be politically correct, like correspondents going waaaayyyy out of their way to pronounce a name “correctly” within the context of some language, especially if it’s Spanish. But in their ignorance or perhaps arrogance, they pronounce Portuguese names as if they were Spanish, even though the pronunciation rules are very different. Also, can someone please explain to me why everyone that works for NPR news and “story” programs is either Jewish or Hispanic? I’m sure that some will find that question to be racist but I’m simply asking a reasonable question based on the large number of members of those groups that work for Fresh Air and Morning Edition, etc. Are they racially and ethnically profiling? Are they using quotas? Are they attempting to hire people that would not find a job in the private sector? If you are offended by this line of questions, then you are being dishonest with yourself and non-pragmatic.
And, yes, NPR is definitely very left-leaning. Inskeep and Gross give it away with their inflections in practically every statement. If you listen to NPR and don’t hear this, then again, you are deluding yourself.
Now, as I said before, I listen to NPR. It offers the least worst news on the radio that I’m aware of. There are many good programs that avoid a lot of the biases, PC nonsense, and amateurishness. My complaints stem from the fact that NPR receives federal assistance. This is nonsense. There is no reason the government should be paying for a radio network.
The fact is, if funding were pulled today, NPR (after a name change) would get along just fine as a commercial network. According to Arbitron ratings, Morning Edition is the SECOND MOST LISTENED TO national radio show. So, clearly something is being done right. It just shouldn’t be done with taxpayer’s money.