The Radio Habit

I listen to National Public Radio.
I listen because, as a journalist, I admire its highly skilled professional techniques.
I listen because as a dyed in the wool traditionalist/conservative, I want to know the “right-thinking” line of the liberal elite and its kept media [easier than reading the increasingly unprofessional New York Times].
I listen because, on longer car trips, I get so angry with its leftwing agenda, it keeps me awake at the wheel.
But I do think that as a taxpayer I should not be forced to pay for it. [Furthermore, with its increasing use of New York Times overseas correspondents and the BBC, I am indirectly funding two other media outlets I do not want to subsidize.] That’s why I am on a tear to defund National People’s Radio.
In the longstanding dispute over government subsidies to NPR [and more vast sums to the Public Broadcasting Service TV], the management at NPR has argued it doesn’t get very much money from the government [and me]. Okay! Then why, pray tell, not give it up!
[The new Cameron government in Britain is going after the BBC, a model for NPR, charging it with bias in the recent election where it tried to force a debate between the two principal parties’ leaders, and warning of possible bias in the critical upcoming referendum on the UK’s membership in the European Union. Tarnished with several recent scandals – including one involving a leading BBC star for child abuse — the Tories want to end the compulsory £145.50 {$228.764} fee for every British household.]
Like most things, the NPR subsidies are a little complicated. First, of course, is the national network itself, and then there are the almost onethousand individual stations which carry its programs, many of which get local government subsidies. NPR says that about onethird of the cost of your local station [including its fees to NPR] are met through individual listeners’ contributions. There are business contributors [who, incidentally, are getting longer and longer “announcements” looking more and more like commercials]. There is support from universities [and how much is that indirectly taxpayers’ funds?] And there are the foundations [who being tax-free are also out of my pocket]. Another smaller amount is direct state or federal funds. And then there “other” funds, not identified by NPR – hmmmm.
Then, of course, there is the question of how much even individual contributors’ “gifts” to NPR and the stations is written off income tax, and, again, out of the taxpayers’ pocket.
Altogether, it is not an exaggeration to guess that a least 40% of “public radio’s” support comes out of the taxpayer’s – and my — pocket.
Now, if I listen – and perhaps you listen – are we faced with the dilemma that if the taxpayers’ funds were cut off, “public radio” would NPR be condemned to a throttled death?
Not at all.
Let’s start with the way it is run; for example, those salaries for an overloaded administrative staff that are often more than in commercial radio. Then there are the editorial contributors who are double-dipping – being aid by commercial radio for their appearances there, even as they hold plushy NPR and local government-supported local radio outlets staff rungs. And there are the big earnings from the children’s programs’ sales of dolls and toys.
In 2014, the direct grants from the federal government to the various “public” radios operations was $69,308,750 – a nice piece of change. [Don’t even look at the much larger dollops for TV; they will choke you!] I am sure economies could be made if and when National People’s Radio were put on the market.
Government intervention – on either side — in the media is a direct violation of the first amendment. Its growing role in NPR and the so-called public TV is a dangerous threat to the basic democratic concept of a free press. Enough already!


2 responses to “The Radio Habit

  1. Another good one, Sol. I completely agree, and have for years. Though I don’t listen anymore. Bob

    “Death, Long Long Ago,” “Death, Lonely and Peculiar,” Dr. Ray Raether South Carolina RV Travel Mystery Series, Books 1 and 2

    On Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 11:55 PM, yeoldecrabb wrote:

    > yeoldecrabb posted: ” I listen to National Public Radio. I listen > because, as a journalist, I admire its highly skilled professional > techniques. I listen because as a dyed in the wool > traditionalist/conservative, I want to know the “right-thinking” line of > the liberal”

  2. robert courtney,M.D.

    Your specific and objective report should get everyone’s attention !
    NPR has for years been a DEN of biased liberal / socialistic slanted opinion( often simply ‘drivel’!) Their constant begging for $ ; when in fact . they are already into my ‘pocket’, is hypocrisy of the first order !

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