Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Heard On The Radio: 5/24/05

I thought this was worth posting. Driving from Greensboro to Winston-Salem, NC this morning I heard the following from approximately 10:20 to 10:40.

WUNC, publc radio -- a caller to The Connection laments that the Democratic Party caved in on the filibuster compromise. They never stand and fight anymore. Host Dick Gordon reminds the caller that the Democrats are the minority party in both houses of Congress and that they do not hold the White House.

WFDD, public radio -- Diane Rehm reads a listener e-mail on how the Democrats have become like the school child who has been beaten up for lunch money so many times that he just gives the school bully the lunch money instead of putting up a fight. She first turns for comment to C. Boyden Gray, former White House counsel to Pres. George H.W. Bush and chairman of the Committee for Justice. Her other guest, Tom Mann, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution also weighs in.

WZTK, FM talk radio -- a caller to the Neal Boortz show angrily complains that the Republicans caved in on the filibuster compromise. They don't stand and fight for their principles anymore. They let the President down. Neal suggests that the Constitution of The United States is the biggest loser of all in this deal.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Marketplace Has Spoken

Years ago, Congress set public radio on the path of making it in the marketplace or not making it at all. Public radio responded by better serving its then relatively small audience.

Now, more people than ever listen to public radio. More people than ever give money to public radio. More businesses than ever underwrite public radio programming. Opinion surveys show that the majority of Americans believe public radio is balanced and worthy of the federal funding it receives.

And therein lies the irony of the current debate over objectivity and balance in public radio. The marketplace has no issues with it. The marketplace has spoken loud and clear. Every opportunity the marketplace gets to vote for public radio -- with its ears, dollars, and opinions -- it votes for public radio.

That's not the answer conservative politicians expected to hear when they started public radio down this path. So in spite of their belief in the power of the marketplace, they choose to not listen to what it has to say.

If they actually did listen, conservatives would be celebrating the success of public radio. It's a great example of a public-private partnership. It's minimal federal investments, well-leveraged in local communities by local decision-makers.

But that success won't be recognized because the original intent was to harm public radio. It didn't work and so we are now witnessing "Plan B", or "Plan C", or something like that. Those who are attacking public radio can't seem to accept that most people don't buy their beef with public radio. Perhaps they would see that if they took an objective and balanced view of the situation.