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Re: NH Public Radio cutting
Terry Wood wrote:
> NH Radio seems to be following Maine.
Mais non, mon ami! It is Maine that follows New Hampshire, the
dictionary notwithstanding. What MPR is now undergoing reminds me of
what NHPR went through in 1992 and WBUR experienced in 1980.
Today's Bangor Daily News item on yesterday's MPBC trustees' meeting
noted that 36 members of the public showed up, half the number MPBC
officials expected. Heck, back on February 12, 1992, NHPR had booked a
couple hearing rooms in the Legistlative Office Building in Concord and
ended up moving the session over to the House chambers when something
like 400 listeners showed up to voice their concerns about major
The changes announced today by NHPR
<http://www.nhpr.org/special-temp/programchange.htm> aren't a radical
departure from the recent course of the station. Although the online
program schedule and the latest member newsletter indicate NHPR carries
locally programmed classical music from 1-4 p.m. on weekdays, that
hasn't been true since Election Day. Talk of the Nation was carried the
day after the election, and the day after that, and so on. Even when
the day finally came in December when TOTN stopped talking about the
election, NHPR continued to carry the program. I knew the single
remaining hour of classical music in the afternoon was doomed.
NHPR listeners have experienced a steady erosion of classical and jazz
programming in the past decade and it's all been leading up to this.
The Met? That went out the window in 1985. The last vestiges of
weekend classical programming (excluding the overnight stuff from the
satellite) disappeared in 1994. Meanwhile, MPR listeners seen
comparatively minor nibbles at their classical programming. In the
early '90s weekday morning classical music began at 8, then 8:05, then
8:10 (in 1993, after Robert J. Lurtsema quit doing weekdays) and now
8:30 (since March 2, 1998). In February of 1995 four hours of Sunday
morning classical disappeared and in February of 1999 two hours of the
Saturday morning classical went away. Until last month, MPR still had
five hours of locally programmed classical on weekends. Now listeners
are hit with the loss of two hours on weekday afternoons, one hour on
Sunday mornings, and the Met. Welcome to the club.
I've long admired MPR's commitment to programming diversity. I don't
want it to give me a steady diet of the same thing. Go ahead, air the
Met; I've got other things to listen to, and I'll come back when it's
time for "Selected Shorts" or "This American Life." I tend to be a
program listener, not a format listener, making me way out of synch with
current trends in radio listening. To me expecting MPR to deliver more
and more and more of my favorite programs all the time is as silly as
asking WFXT to give me nothing but more of "The Simpsons." Go ahead,
air "Temptation Island," I'll come back when there's something good on.
I take great offense to the notion that one should listen to only one
radio station but public radio managers have bought into the concept of
"superserving" a core audience and find themselves programming by the
numbers now. I knew there would come a day when this trend spread to
A sidebar on NHPR: about three weeks ago I noticed the announcers never
said "New Hampshire Public Radio" anymore. It's now "NHPR" all the
time. One afternoon I heard John Walters say "This is NHPR and I'm
J.W." and it was apparent that a memo had gone out. Perhaps some
consultant figured this would reinforce the station's Web address.
Perhaps it would be more inviting to listeners in neighboring states if
New Hampshire wasn't mentioned as much. Or perhaps they just wanted to
save four syllables whenever possible.