Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Self-Sufficiency

With the lobbying effort to protect public radio's federal funding gearing up, now is a good time to remember that public radio's core services should not be dependent on the whims and inconsistencies of Congressional politics. For every hour invested in lobbying, one hundred should be invested in figuring out how to make public radio's core services in every community financially self-sufficient. We owe that to the millions of listeners who count on public radio every day.

3 Comments:

Blogger Aaron Read said...

In a perfect world I agree with you Mr. Sutton. But fiscal self-sufficiency means one of two roads: commercial radio or Pacifica listener-support-only radio.

Either of which would eventually destroy what most public radio fans love about public radio. Pacifica is in a deep fiscal hole and probably always will be (I could write novels about why). Commercial radio means you're beholden to your sponsors and sponsors always want the ratings. Ratings always mean pandering to the lowest common denominator. It may take a few years, but it's an inevitable slide.

What we really need is exactly what we're getting - a lot of listeners really fed up with politicians trying to fix what isn't broken and said listeners screaming like banshees about it. The system is, in theory, designed to be self-correcting. Things that affect more people inherently cause more ruckus, thus driving consensus.

If the mucking with CPB proves to affect enough people (as it seems to be doing) and yet the political elite chooses to continue to ignore that "enough people" - our problems are far worse than just public radio.

Of course, it's quite possible our problems are that big - I'm just trying to add perspective.

- Aaron

11:09 AM  
Blogger RadioSutton said...

Thanks for your post Aaron. I have to disagree with your statement that there are just two roads to fiscal self-sufficiency. Many station budgets are funded equally by listener support and business support. So that's not an either/or proposition. Second, spending might be a bigger problem for public radio than revenue. This will be the subject of a future posting. And it is timely that you brought up the "lowest common denominator" cliche. I've been meaning to post about that as well. To preview -- using LCD and ratings in the same sentence suggests that public radio is trying to keep certain segments of the population out. I leave you with this question, if we are the higher denominator, who is beneath us?

3:14 PM  
Blogger Aaron Read said...

Why Republicans, of course! :-)

10:00 AM  

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