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Old March 25th, 2011, 12:17 PM
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I think we are all aware of the problems NPR is having - and I just want to say I am not surprised. They know who their audience is and they don't apologize.

Anyway - I have now had two experiences with NPR and one just happened yesterday...

But first one first - about two years ago I was contacted to be a guest on NPR in Seattle to talk about cruising. I was given no direction - I was just put on the air. Little did I know (until I heard it starting about 2 minutes before they addressed me to speak) that the topic was how "stupid" cruises are... all the usual crap about it being boring, a cesspool of sickness, infirm boring people... blah, blah, blah....

So, yesterday I get a call from WNYC - the big New York station for NPR who does a show called "soundstream" or something. She wanted to interview me about music on cruises...

She called me for a pre-interview and it went very well, because I happened to have email in my inbox from SmoothJazzCruises and from Sixthman. These people are producing cruises with artists like David Sanborn, Kid Rock, John Hiatt, Lyle Lovitt, etc.

I told her how great it is because you are immersed in the music, no distractions. I told her these cruises are so popular they generally sell out over year in advance (true). The smooth jazz 2012 cruise is almost sold out, and it is two 7-day cruises back to back.

So - this is a good story, who knew, right? But she kept asking me questions like? "Do you think there is a misperception about music om cruises that it is bad or boring?" I said "no doubt, many years ago it was common to have dance bands on ships that mostly played songs like Satin Doll" She "tittered" at that one.

"But," I said, "these days most people who are dancers are now doing things like West Coast Swing, for example, and they dance to more contemporary music like rock and blues."

I told about the super-cruise a few years ago where they chartered two ships, had 20 bands on each one, each sailed to an island in the Bahamas where they all saw a concert on land, then all the band changed ships so the people on both ships had all new acts for the return trip.

So - today she cancels the interview. Why? She didn't give a reason but it is obvious, it was too positive about cruising. This is the second time NPR has Shanghaied me when it comes to cruise coverage.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 12:21 PM
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I am not surprised. Maybe it was good that they cancelled. I would have hated to hear they turned your words around, which I am told they are famous for doing.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 02:00 PM
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It was theirs and their listeners loss.

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Old March 25th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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sounds like she did not do her prework and missed an opportunity to use your expertise as a conduit to explore how cruiselines have adapted to offer their cruise guests a wide variety of musical experiences..interesting since NPR has a great jazz syndicated radio program that is fully aware of the various musical offerings at sea, this just does not ad up

Paul..perhaps you should have suggested that her local NPR affiliate book your band on this summer's NYC Smooth Music Cruise Wednesday series of sailings around the Statue of Liberty
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Old March 25th, 2011, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I think we are all aware of the problems NPR is having - and I just want to say I am not surprised. They know who their audience is and they don't apologize.

Anyway - I have now had two experiences with NPR and one just happened yesterday...

But first one first - about two years ago I was contacted to be a guest on NPR in Seattle to talk about cruising. I was given no direction - I was just put on the air. Little did I know (until I heard it starting about 2 minutes before they addressed me to speak) that the topic was how "stupid" cruises are... all the usual crap about it being boring, a cesspool of sickness, infirm boring people... blah, blah, blah....

So, yesterday I get a call from WNYC - the big New York station for NPR who does a show called "soundstream" or something. She wanted to interview me about music on cruises...

She called me for a pre-interview and it went very well, because I happened to have email in my inbox from SmoothJazzCruises and from Sixthman. These people are producing cruises with artists like David Sanborn, Kid Rock, John Hiatt, Lyle Lovitt, etc.

I told her how great it is because you are immersed in the music, no distractions. I told her these cruises are so popular they generally sell out over year in advance (true). The smooth jazz 2012 cruise is almost sold out, and it is two 7-day cruises back to back.

So - this is a good story, who knew, right? But she kept asking me questions like? "Do you think there is a misperception about music om cruises that it is bad or boring?" I said "no doubt, many years ago it was common to have dance bands on ships that mostly played songs like Satin Doll" She "tittered" at that one.

"But," I said, "these days most people who are dancers are now doing things like West Coast Swing, for example, and they dance to more contemporary music like rock and blues."

I told about the super-cruise a few years ago where they chartered two ships, had 20 bands on each one, each sailed to an island in the Bahamas where they all saw a concert on land, then all the band changed ships so the people on both ships had all new acts for the return trip.

So - today she cancels the interview. Why? She didn't give a reason but it is obvious, it was too positive about cruising. This is the second time NPR has Shanghaied me when it comes to cruise coverage.

Am I to infer that if I can relate cruising to a political entity that its okay to start a thread on same ?
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Old March 25th, 2011, 03:29 PM
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I wasnt aware that only people of a certain political view like to cruise.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 04:03 PM
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Paul, after all the bad press they have had this year, perhaps it's best your interview was cancelled.. we all know how they bungle things.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 08:31 PM
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Trip..good point

Henry..I can see, based upon Paul's thread where you might infer that deduction, but I think Paul was referring not to the political perspective of NPR but to their lack of professionalism and balance about the subject that Paul has some perspective on

Paul..btw, Satin Doll is a great jazz piece..Duke Ellington, if he were in his prime today, would be on The Jazz Cruise every year !!!!
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Old March 25th, 2011, 09:04 PM
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Trip..good point

Henry..I can see, based upon Paul's thread where you might infer that deduction, but I think Paul was referring not to the political perspective of NPR but to their lack of professionalism and balance about the subject that Paul has some perspective on

Paul..btw, Satin Doll is a great jazz piece..Duke Ellington, if he were in his prime today, would be on The Jazz Cruise every year !!!!
I understand Pauls point ,however the NPR FM station in NYC is comprised of on air hosts with a difinitive political persuasion .
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Old March 25th, 2011, 09:32 PM
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What a crock, too bad, people may have missed a good topic/interview...Are they that stubborn and can't see both sides, so they cancel because you don't fit into what they want you to say??
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Old March 26th, 2011, 01:44 AM
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I find NPR has some great programming (my favorite (along with millions of others) being "Car Talk").

If they would just stick to topics that are not controversial (or which they wish to make controversial) they would have far more listeners. It's more than a little obvious as witnessed by their desire to insult or downgrade anything with which they may disagree (a perfect example being your experience, Paul).

As it is, all of their interviews and even their news is aimed directly at a particular group and a relatively narrow one at that. The thing that surprises me most is that they either don't bother to offer an opposing view or when they do, they twist the questions to an extent that the person being interiviewed is "damned" regardless of how he/she answers. I compare it to a murder trial type question such as, "Were you drunk or sober when you murdered the victim?" Obviously Paul, they couldn't "re-direct you." I'd be interested if that program ever even aired. I wouldn't be surprised if it had, minus of course any truly positive aspects being accentuated while crime, disease, etc. is promoted of a vacation experience that literally millions of Americans enjoy each year.

I know from whence I speak because I have a close personal friend who is often interviewed on NPR and even has his own occasional show on PBS entitled, Media Matters (and if you are aware of the outfit Media Matters, then you know that what I am writing is the truth). We're very good friends but are complete opposites of the political spectrurm. My older brother who spent the majority of his life in Great Britain religiously listens to NPR and according to him, it's just a bit shy of the Gospel.

Consequently I only listen to those programs that are pure entertainment.

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Old March 26th, 2011, 10:37 AM
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NPR should be completely independent and not be spending MY tax dollars. Then they can do as they please without complaint from me. Until then they deserve all the criticism they are due.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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Am I not disguising what I am saying - NPR has always taken an "anti-cruise" slant solely because they believe their listeners perceive anything big that burns fuel as bad.

I was just saying that with this talk I thought I was going to experience something different, but what they subsequently did was exactly in line with what they did to me before.

It is a pretty safe bet she was looking for some kind of negative slant on cruise music for their show - something to make it look really dated and antiquated. I didn't even have a chance to tell her about the Slam Allen Band on Norwegian Epic.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 12:39 PM
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Paul..we all understood your intent..what's puzzling is why would they go to one of the world's most passionate advocates of cruising (you of course) to obtain a negative perspective for a cruising story let us know when Fox News calls you up for a fair and balanced perspective of music on cruise ships
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Old March 27th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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Oh, brother. . .

Well, while I vowed never to get involved again with this board, I've just got to jump in on this one.

Let's begin with my own view: you might be surprised to learn that I would be thrilled if NPR, the radio NETWORK that feeds programming to NPR stations (more about this distinction later) would forsake what's left of its government funding and go it alone, surviving on station subscription fees. I would actually be willing to quadruple my current contribution to my local NPR station if this would happen. I would like it to happen in order to put to rest all this bleating about public money going to the "biased" morons at what everybody calls "NPR," even when it isn't NPR they're talking about.

Broadcasting 101: NPR is a radio network that feeds programs to affiliated stations around the country. Those same affiliated stations also a) produce programming themselves for local air which have nothing whatever to do with NPR, and b) acquire programs routinely from sources other than NPR (PMI being one obvious example). Some of the programs produced by local stations are done in conjunction with NPR and networked via NPR, e.g. the wildly liberal programs Car Talk (Boston) and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (Chicago). But most programs produced by local stations are only aired locally, or are shared with other stations via agreements that have absolutely nothing to do with NPR.

The NPR station in Seattle is KUOW. Paul went on that station and was unfairly interviewed about cruising because whoever interviewed him was biased against cruising. We do not know whether KUOW was just acting as a studio for an NPR (or other network) program, or whether it was a local Seattle program. Perhaps Paul knows; he did not say. He just painted with the broad "NPR" brush.

Then he gets pre-interviewed at WNYC in New York and is not selected to appear for reasons he believes are related to his positive views of music on cruises. He may or may not be right about the reason. But what we know for sure is that the Radio Network NPR does not carry any program called "Soundstream" or anything remotely like it. The closest thing I can find to that title in the public radio pantheon of programming is a show called "Sound Print," which is produced by an independent radio production company in Maryland (with which I have passing familiarity). This company distributes the program themselves and some NPR stations air it. But the program has nothing whatever to do with the "evil" NPR. It may be that WNYC has a local program with that title, but again, if it does it has nothing to do with the radio network NPR. It is also possible that WNYC was simply renting studio facilities to the Sound Print people. This kind of thing happens all the time.

Splitting hairs? Sorry 'bout that. Just seems to me that if you're going to accuse, you should accuse the right party.

There is also a subtext to this string to the effect that NPR's audience is small and declining, that they don't know how to capture and build and audience, and this (along with their "obvious" liberal bias) is another reason they shouldn't be supported by government funds.

But

--The number of listeners to NPR news programs has increased by 55% since 1998, during a period when radio in general has been on a serious decline. They are succeeding in a medium that is fundamentally failing.

--Their flagship news programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered routinely pull between 7 and 9 million viewers a day. This is an audience that is roughly 60% larger than Good Morning America, 30% larger than the Today Show, 400% larger than Glenn Beck, 300% larger than Bill O'Reilly, and about 10 times larger than anything on CNN or MSNBC.

So, I think it would be wonderful (and I think it's doable) if NPR and even its affiliated stations would be freed of the yoke of government subsidies, and the truth is that a lot of people who work there feel the same way. I hope it happens sooner rather than later, because then their loyal listeners can continue to listen (and support them), and the moaners and groaners can tilt at windmills all they like.

Do I sometimes take exception to what I hear on NPR? Sure. Often. But you're not going to find any other broadcast news outlet these days with 18 foreign bureaus turning out generally credible reports about the world scene. And you're not going to find the main network news programs veering off into recipies for miso soup or treatises on what the royal newlyweds-to-be did over the weekend. I find their story selection to be a better use of my time.

So, sorry that you and the cruise industry were treated shabbily on two separate occasions, Paul. Me, I'm still a big fan of cruising. . .but when I'm aboard ship I sure miss NPR.
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Old March 27th, 2011, 10:57 PM
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NPR should be completely independent and not be spending MY tax dollars. Then they can do as they please without complaint from me. Until then they deserve all the criticism they are due.
I agree 100% .I also do not believe that PBS stations should receive government funding .
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Old March 27th, 2011, 11:06 PM
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I too believe that NPR should be totally independent of government funding. Now, if we could only get enough "public financial support".
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Old March 28th, 2011, 12:40 AM
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AR,

I've a sincere question. How can you justify one of your stats?

You said that NPR has 300% more listeners that Bill O'Reilly. That is probably because Bill O'Reilly dropped his radio show a long time ago even though it was one of the top 10 Talk Radio shows in the country.

As for TV cable news channels, O'Reilly completely rules the 8-9 pm Time slot, often beating CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and HLN combined.

For all the news junkies out there, let's see what the latest prime time Cable TV News stats (for the night of March 24) show:

Fox with 2,223,000
CNN with 743,000
MSNBC with 858,000
CNBC with 176,000
HLN with 383,000

That's 263,000 more than the entire competition combined for a full prime time evening. Guess who led the charge?

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Old March 28th, 2011, 01:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoozeman View Post
NPR should be completely independent and not be spending MY tax dollars. Then they can do as they please without complaint from me. Until then they deserve all the criticism they are due.

Snoozeman - I could not have said it better myself!!!! AMEN, brother!!!!!
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Old March 28th, 2011, 04:12 AM
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Todd...the Feb. 2011 edition of Esquire Magazine has a great profile of Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News...suggest you go online and read the article which provided great insight into the success of Fox News in relation to it's competitors..did you know that Bill O'Reilly is a graduate of Marist College, down the street in your old neck of the woods in Poughkeepsie New York?..the Catholic Brothers who instructed him then, are scrathing their heads

NPR would agree that they should be 100% independent of government funding
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Old March 28th, 2011, 10:48 AM
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Venice,

Yes I did. He also spent his junior year at Queen Mary College (University of London) and got his Masters of Arts in Journalism from Boston College. He also earned his Masters in Governmental Administration at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Although I don't know if this is true, it wouldn't surprise me if he were better educated than any other well known news anchor on either any of the major network anchors including "over the air" TV or cable. In any event, he sure is up there educationally.

Todd
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Old March 28th, 2011, 10:51 AM
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Todd...the Feb. 2011 edition of Esquire Magazine has a great profile of Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News...suggest you go online and read the article which provided great insight into the success of Fox News in relation to it's competitors..did you know that Bill O'Reilly is a graduate of Marist College, down the street in your old neck of the woods in Poughkeepsie New York?..the Catholic Brothers who instructed him then, are scrathing their heads

NPR would agree that they should be 100% independent of government funding
He lives in Long Island ,NY
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Old March 28th, 2011, 11:11 AM
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AR - I did have the name wrong, but all you have to do is google WNYC and you see "soundcheck."

Soundcheck: - WNYC
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Old March 28th, 2011, 11:30 AM
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Todd--

Looks to me like you answered your own question. I believe you cited the cable TV stats quite accurately. I pointed out that NPR's news programs routinely pull 7-9 million a day. 300% of two and a quarter million is 6.75 million. Everybody knows that O'Reilly is leaps and bounds ahead of other cable opinion shows (and cable news shows as well). But those numbers pale compared to what NPR pulls.

It is also beyond question that the fact that the media pie now has so many slices means that what years ago would have been considered lousy numbers are now considered quite good. When there were only three networks, 2 million viewers would have been a one-way express ticket to oblivion. We're now at the point where literally every audience for every cable network (and sometimes broadcast networks as well) could be considered a "fringe" audience.

About two years ago I was at a meeting at the headquarters of a major cable network (Discovery), when a commotion erupted out in the hall. Turns out one of their programs had just pulled a "1" rating for the first time ever. Somebody went out and got a cake and there was a big celebration. It wasn't cynical. They were very happy, and I was happy for them, but you sometimes have to wonder how they stay above water. The definition of "success" has certainly been lowered.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 12:19 PM
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AR..you are so right about the definition of 'success"..with the advance of technology (downloads, internet radio etc) in the music business no one sells enough albums to be certified gold these days (fyi..glad to see you are easing your way back into the fold...just when you think you are out, you get pulled back in)

Todd..me thinks Mr O'Reilly is a shrewed and calculating and very rich person because he knows how to stir s&*^&%t which may or may not be a reflection of his true demeanor..he also knows just how far to push the line and understands the game to be played as dictated by his boss Mr Ailes..no doubt his educational training gives him a different perspective from some of his on air buddies..I think it would be interesting to be his 1st class seatmate on a 5 /12 cross country flight (I did some graduate work at Marist and worked there for 2 years)

don't be surprise if in the near future, we see a full charter theme cruise (on a high end luxury cruise line) featuring Fox news personalities and contributing pundits..it will probably sell out in a day
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Old March 28th, 2011, 01:17 PM
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AR..you are so right about the definition of 'success"..with the advance of technology (downloads, internet radio etc) in the music business no one sells enough albums to be certified gold these days (fyi..glad to see you are easing your way back into the fold...just when you think you are out, you get pulled back in)

Todd..me thinks Mr O'Reilly is a shrewed and calculating and very rich person because he knows how to stir s&*^&%t which may or may not be a reflection of his true demeanor..he also knows just how far to push the line and understands the game to be played as dictated by his boss Mr Ailes..no doubt his educational training gives him a different perspective from some of his on air buddies..I think it would be interesting to be his 1st class seatmate on a 5 /12 cross country flight (I did some graduate work at Marist and worked there for 2 years)

don't be surprise if in the near future, we see a full charter theme cruise (on a high end luxury cruise line) featuring Fox news personalities and contributing pundits..it will probably sell out in a day
He is indeed a very weathy person .He lives in a private community among such people as one of the AI judges ,a former pro QB with the Jets and other luminaries .
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Old March 28th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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AR - I did have the name wrong, but all you have to do is google WNYC and you see "soundcheck."
Fine. I allowed for that possibility when I said

It may be that WNYC has a local program with that title, but again, if it does it has nothing to do with the radio network NPR.

So since it is a local program on WNYC, we know that it isn't an NPR offering. My point is that local productions shouldn't be lumped together with NPR network shows. They're different beasts, and if you're going to fire, your aim should be true.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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I didn't know anything about NPR until a couple of months ago, and certainly knew nothing about where their money comes from. We do have a local station that has tons of fund raisers, so I am not sure if they are funded by the Network, or are independent.

I admire Bill O'Reily, and can't figure out why he is in this conversation. I sure don't understand why how much money he has, plays into either.

I know that it is not politically correct these days to be rich. Use to, you worked hard, and you were allowed to have money. I guess now if you have your hand out far enough you make money, and that is somehow better.

I wish NPR well. If they choose to sway opinions their way, then more power to them. I do not feel like they need to continue to get funding, but they say it isn't that much to them, so I guess it won't be missed if it is discontinued.

Paul, I am sorry this happened to you. They missed out on all the information you could have provided.

I to have had experiece with the news media. I spent an hour with a reporter, after Joe was killed. We talked about the effect it had taken on us. We talked about young people, and how they needed more role models, but right at the end, I said I would except whatever sentence his killer received, but that I wished it was an eye for an eye.

The headline said, "Local Mom wants death for her son's killer" It was so badly slanted, that I was embarresed for anyone to see it.

Count your blessings. They could have done the interview, and then you would have had to live with the way they chose to present it.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 04:47 PM
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The USA no longer has a single, unbiased credible pure news outlet. It's all info-tainment now.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luanne Russo View Post
I didn't know anything about NPR until a couple of months ago, and certainly knew nothing about where their money comes from. We do have a local station that has tons of fund raisers, so I am not sure if they are funded by the Network, or are independent.

I know that it is not politically correct these days to be rich. Use to, you worked hard, and you were allowed to have money. I guess now if you have your hand out far enough you make money, and that is somehow better.
Luanne--

Local radio stations affiliated with NPR are licensed in the local community as non-commercial broadcasters (although sometimes it doesn't seem like they are). In any event, they must have money to pay their staff, keep their physical plant in shape, run their transmitter, and produce and acquire programming. These funds come from listener donations, grant and foundation support, and sometimes from government(s). When they broadcast programs from the NPR network, the pay NPR for the right to do so (not the other way around). They also pay other program producers for their programs (for example, they may pay PMI for A Prairie Home Companion). NPR gets its money from stations purchasing the programming, from their own grants and foundation money, and they've always gotten money from the federal government as well.

Conservatives have complained for years that they think NPR has a liberal bias and therefore shouldn't be given federal money. I've made the point in this string that I think NPR is successful enough that it would be to everybody's advantage if they stopped getting federal money. And I said that if that stipend were to end I'd be glad to quadruple my annual contribution to public radio to help keep it going. I think a lot of other listeners would up their contributions as well.

The new Congress, apparently having nothing better to do, is spending a great deal of time and gasbag energy hammering on the NPR money, as well as similar funding for public TV. They may or may not end up doing anything about it, but the "shocked, shocked" act plays well in many parts of the country. It's just a way to divert attention from where the big money needs to be saved, which of course is entitlement spending. Even so, I'd be just as glad to see the federal NPR funding go away, but for different reasons.

As for it not being "politically correct" to be rich, I'm not sure I agree. Show me a poor member of Congress. Anyway, nobody who's rich worries about whether it's politically correct. That's for sure.

The real issue is the disappearing middle class. That's what'll sink us if anything does.
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