Because Video Didn't Kill the Radio Star

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
If Andy had it his way, we would never turn off the radio in the cabin. I structure my Saturdays around listening to Car Talk and Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, and I try to catch This American Life, The Splendid Table, and Marketplace Money as well. We don't have a t.v. (just Netflix) so we depend on both the local community radio station and NPR to supply our daily dose of news. Radio was an important component of my childhood and it remains important to me to this day.

The U.S. Congress has recently  introduced not one, not two, but three bills to cut federal funding for the country's public broadcasting services. These services reach out to approximately 170 million Americans every month.

Colorado Representative Doug Lamborn, one of the movers and shakers behind these bills, seems to view public broadcasting as archaic and has stated: The original purpose of federal funding for CPB in 1967 is no longer relevant. The intent of federally-funded public broadcasting was to make “telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States.” Today, over 99 percent of Americans own a TV and over 95 percent have access to the Internet. In a world of 500-channel cable TV, streaming radio over the Internet, and cell phone Internet access, government-funded broadcasting is completely unnecessary.

As a resident of a rural area, about half of his argument above doesn't pertain to life around here. I can't stream radio over the internet. We don't have cell phone service. And somehow, having all my news come to via private news organizations, like, oh, I don't know, FOX, doesn't seem like the best idea. 

Remember that line from John Mayer's song "Waiting on the World to Change?" Because when they own the information, oh, they can bend it all they want.  

If we remove all venues for unbiased reporting, like NPR and local independent broadcasting services, that means all our information will come to us through a glass darkly. As a writer, I find the prospect of living in a world where objectivity is unnecessary and fact checking "a waste of time" down right terrifying. As educated citizens, we desire to know both sides of the story before we make up our minds and opinions. It  is our responsibility as free-thinkers to foster as many forums for thought as possible. We should have the opportunity to blog, and write letters to the editor, and pen radio commentaries to our heart's content.

If you feel radio is an important part of your daily life, I encourage you to join me in the 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting campaign.This is not plea for your personal monies (let's be honest, we heard enough of those pleas from public broadcasting) and the campaign promises to treat your personal information with care and integrity. This is your chance to stand up and be counted as a public broadcasting beneficiary. If you learned your alphabet from Sesame Street, if you tune into the local radio station for weather alerts, this is a campaign for you.

After all, public broadcasting has always been about making your voice heard.


  1. Totally with you on this one, Ada. I have a TV, the internet, a cell phone with internet, satellite radio, regular radio, and two walkie-talkies (ha), and out of all of those, I'd choose NPR news to actually believe. And I listen to it pretty regularly too! And I still watch Sesame Street. ;-)

  2. Ada, thank you for raising awareness of Congress's three bills aimed at public radio. It just goes to show, once again, how out of touch the people "representing" us in Washington are. I'm joining the 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting campaign.

  3. I agree one hundred percent- I'm all signed up lady!

  4. Ada, I am not allowed to join yet as my greencard hasnt been issued.I do understand where you are coming from and will tell Skip about it. He may join on our both behalf.

  5. Just found your blog and love it. I am also an NPR listener. I love All Things Considered, The Diana Rehm Show and anything Terry Gross does. I'm signing up!!!

  6. I love how LinkWithin sends you all over the place in a blog... it's kind of like choose your own adventure. I surfed in to read your March 11 entry and ended up here! Anyway, I'm a fairly new reader and new follower, but I wanted to say that I love the Henry David Thoreau thing you've got going on... very different from my blog, but very cool. I'm a little bit jealous, in fact, but I'm not sure that I could handle living so far away from a Starbucks or a mall (I know, I know...).

    Anyway, even for those of us who do have internet access and can stream news, for those of us who do have working cell phones and even televisions -- what about the fact that many business professionals might not have time to sit down and watch the 6 o'clock news, but they can turn on NPR on their drive to work? There are probably a million different reasons that people still listen to the radio, and while the country's economic problems might make it necessary to cut funding down, we do need to find a way to make sure that public broadcasting can continue.


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