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Re: NH Public Radio cutting

<<On Wed, 17 Jan 2001 23:49:04 -0500, "Dan Billings" <dib9@gwi.net> said:

> My only question is this:  Is it wrong for a public station to make
> programming changes that they belief will add more listeners?  If more
> people are listening, aren't they serving the public better?

Not necessarily.  In this case, it's probably a wash (there are other
places where listeners in most parts of Maine can hear classical
music), but the true mission of a non-commercial/educational radio
station is to enrich its community by providing a service which would
not available elsewhere on the radio.  This certainly includes
classical music in many markets (not necessarily in Maine), but could
also include specialty ethnic programming (see WNYE Brooklyn),
AAA/Americana (WNCW Spindale), and many other formats which for one
reason or another fill otherwise-unmet needs in society.

Don't get me wrong; I think there's a place for NPR/PRI-style public
affairs programming, and that's usually on the non-comm band for
reasons that have nothing to do with the popularity of those programs.
(I think you probably could do long-form news on a commercial station,
but it would be difficult just to break even, and almost any other
format would be more economical to operate.)

We all recognize, of course, that ``underwriting'' gives just as much
of an appearance of conflict-of-interest as traditional advertising
does, so public broadcasters in this country cannot legitimately claim
to be any less biased than the commercial ones.  (Indeed, with many
foundations out there specifically funding public radio and TV
programs which reflect their organizational goals, public broadcasting
is pulled in more directions than stations which serve only the temple
of mammon.)


Garrett A. Wollman   | O Siem / We are all family / O Siem / We're all the same
wollman@lcs.mit.edu  | O Siem / The fires of freedom 
Opinions not those of| Dance in the burning flame
MIT, LCS, CRS, or NSA|                     - Susan Aglukark and Chad Irschick