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NPR and PBS Funding


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#21 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 07:26 PM

I listen to it now and again, but I haven't noticed any strong political voice. But, in general, political jokes don't bother me, even I disagree with the sentiment or point of view behind them.

I LOVE political jokes, particularly sending up my guys. When they work. You have a political ax (or a theological one for that matter) to grind and you have just made the humor task that much harder. Even Lewis Black, a specialist in the genre, doesn't get it right all the time. Keillor made his bones poking cultural mores. He's really not up to the task of political commentary. I haven't given him any time for a couple of years, so maybe he's climbed down off the soap box recently.

Edited by Rich Kennedy, 12 February 2011 - 07:26 PM.


#22 Christian

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 07:56 PM

EDIT: I forgot. I once LOVED A Prairie Home Companion. In the last decade, Keillor has not been able to control a bitter political edge though. It's not like anybody was fooled into thinking he wasn't a Dem, or some such before the 2000 election. Afterwards, it tended to color otherwise good material on occasion, and corrupt other stuff on occasion as well. Sad. Peter Sagel seems to be able to cheerfully poke anybody who gets any attention of a particular week. Anymore, there's no comparison. Keillor doesn't seem to realize that his show isn't really about politics at all.

Yup. And, like The Splendid Table, Prairie Home Companion isn't produced by NPR, but by American Public Media.

I didn't mention this earlier, but a second opportunity presents itself, so ... American Public Media has a "Support Us" page on its site telling everyone that "your contribution matters" before quickly getting to the matter of where the real money is:

Your gift keeps our extraordinary commitment to an engaged and inspiring community going—and growing.

As a nonprofit, 501©(3) organization, American Public Media relies on gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations. Contributors are American Public Media's most important source of financial support for our online news, music and cultural programming efforts.

Foundation support
With 16 million listeners nationwide, foundation support goes a long way toward informing, enriching and inspiring people with the content we provide. There are many opportunities for foundations to support American Public Media, be it programming support or vital operating grants.

Past and present supporters:
UBS Financial Services, Inc.
3M Foundation
General Mills Foundation
Educational Broadcasting Corporation
IBM Corporation
The Cargill Foundation
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation
Capital Group Companies, Inc.
Deluxe Corporation Foundation
Ecolab Foundation
McGladrey & Pullen, LLP.
U.S. Bancorp Foundation
Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota
Xcel Energy
The Kendeda Fund
Blandin Foundation
FINRA Investor Education Foundation
Huss Foundation
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Lilly Endowment
Northwest Area Foundation
The Ford Foundation
The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Comer Science & Education Foundation
John Templeton Foundation
The Bush Foundation
The George Family Foundation
The McKnight Foundation
The Poetry Foundation
The Spencer Foundation
The Starr Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Surdna Foundation
Mardag Foundation
McCormick Tribune Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Freeman Foundation
Katherine B. Andersen Fund
MAHADH Fund of HRK Foundation
Righteous Persons Foundation
Compton Foundation
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
National Telecommunications & Information Administration
National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Humanities
State of Minnesota


Once that's cleared out of the way, the site adds this:

Individual support
By contributing to American Public Media, you join a collection of influential supporters nationwide who have made an investment in thoughtful, compelling news, music and cultural programming. Your commitment and partnership energizes our online services and provides the foundation for our creative future.

Your contribution helps to support American Public Media's online efforts, including this Web site, e-mail newsletters, video, RSS feeds, streaming capability, podcasts and hundreds of hours of free archived audio.


I love that: "you join a collection of influential supporters." I'll say.

#23 J. Henry Waugh

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 01:27 AM

I was a loyal public broadcasting donor until I worked as a freelance production coordinator on on of their programs and learned the salaries of my full-time counterparts.

Not another dime after that.

#24 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 06:16 AM

Details please. What media market? What was the station's budget? Um, could you detail some salary info?

#25 M. Leary

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:24 AM

Corporate funding is purely free, in the political sense - no one is actually being forced to give their money to support anything.


Corporate funding is free of the same coercive elements that may direct federal funding? I drive past a few hundred foreclosed homes every day that suggest otherwise.

Yes, there are. We mostly know this because NPR gets around 80% of its funding sources through private means already.


So where do I turn my dial?

Edited by M. Leary, 13 February 2011 - 09:05 AM.


#26 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:37 AM

M. Leary wrote:
: Corporate funding is free of the same coercive elements that may direct federal funding? I drive past a few hundred foreclosed homes every day that suggest otherwise.

But in all of those cases, did not the people who lost those homes enter into their contracts with the banks etc. willingly? Or were they coerced into signing those contracts?

Put differently: If the government compelled the banks NOT to foreclose those homes, even though it meant losing money, would not THAT introduce an element of coercion into the equation?

#27 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 01:28 PM

So where do I turn my dial?

Good question. Programming exists, in a sense to finance successful advertising. It's finesse game though. As a radio brat, I've always been conscious of the "roadcast hour" with precies interruptions for weather and news, etc. Hard breaks for ads fed from outside. Here in Detroit, WJR was king for decades, but I despised the cramming of more and more commercials and other breaks characteristic of that station that cut down on the actual programming that supposedly drew me to the station.

Maybe radio is not for you if you want to avoid any corporate taint. Oh, how about Family Radio? Aren't they listener supported with little corporate financing, heh, heh?

Edited by Rich Kennedy, 13 February 2011 - 01:29 PM.


#28 M. Leary

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 01:51 PM

But in all of those cases, did not the people who lost those homes enter into their contracts with the banks etc. willingly? Or were they coerced into signing those contracts?

Put differently: If the government compelled the banks NOT to foreclose those homes, even though it meant losing money, would not THAT introduce an element of coercion into the equation?


I am not sure any of that is relevant. I was simply pointing out that news broadcasting is always funded by somebody.

#29 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 05:46 PM

I am not sure any of that is relevant. I was simply pointing out that news broadcasting is always funded by somebody.

OK, but I missed the relevance of the driving by so many forclosures in this discussion.

Your aversion to corporate funding seems to imply some definitive malevolance on the part of the funders. I'm not sure that is necessarily the case. If I own radio stations, I want them to work optimally as radio stations, not as mouth pieces for some message I might want to inflict on someone. It would seem to be in my best interest to program for good ratings and ad dollars.

#30 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 05:52 PM


I am not sure any of that is relevant. I was simply pointing out that news broadcasting is always funded by somebody.

OK, but I missed the relevance of the driving by so many forclosures in this discussion. Your aversion to corporate funding seems to imply some definitive malevolance on the part of the funders. I'm not sure that is necessarily the case. If I own radio stations, I want them to work optimally as radio stations, not as mouth pieces for some message I might want to inflict on someone. It would seem to be in my best interest to program for good ratings and and dollars.

Thus, the argument is that voluntarily funded news broadcasting is better than involuntarily funded news broadcasting. There is a difference between the two, one of which has more potential for abuse than the other.

#31 M. Leary

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 06:54 PM

There is a difference between the two, one of which has more potential for abuse than the other.


Why?

OK, but I missed the relevance of the driving by so many forclosures in this discussion.


It wasn't pointed enough to dwell on. I just think it is naive to think that news broadcasting funded purely by corporate interests is somehow more neutral than news broadcasting funded purely by federal interests.

Edited by M. Leary, 13 February 2011 - 06:54 PM.


#32 Ryan H.

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 07:15 PM

There is something very troubling about the idea of news being as a commodity that should be skewed towards an audience. It's somewhat inevitable, of course, but nevertheless, quite problematic. Makes me think of NETWORK.

Edited by Rich Kennedy, 14 February 2011 - 06:38 AM.


#33 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 06:39 AM

It wasn't pointed enough to dwell on. I just think it is naive to think that news broadcasting funded purely by corporate interests is somehow more neutral than news broadcasting funded purely by federal interests.

OK, I'd agree with that. More and more I wonder about the naivete' though. It seems MSM, of which it could be said that NPR is a part, is most invested in the notion of its/their neutrality. Relevant to this particular thread is my sense that government should not be in the business of financing commodities of most any sort, news in particular.

There is something very troubling about the idea of news being as a commodity that should be skewed towards an audience. It's somewhat inevitable, of course, but nevertheless, quite problematic. Makes me think of NETWORK.

But isn't this the basic idea behind most of the new news sites and reporting blogging?

#34 Ryan H.

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 08:04 AM

But isn't this the basic idea behind most of the new news sites and reporting blogging?

Indeed it is. But I don't frequent the new news sites or reporting blogs.

#35 Thom Wade

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 08:40 AM

Thus, the argument is that voluntarily funded news broadcasting is better than involuntarily funded news broadcasting. There is a difference between the two, one of which has more potential for abuse than the other.



You are kidding right? Either one has equal potential for abuse.

#36 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:05 AM


Thus, the argument is that voluntarily funded news broadcasting is better than involuntarily funded news broadcasting. There is a difference between the two, one of which has more potential for abuse than the other.



You are kidding right? Either one has equal potential for abuse.


While either may have equal potential for abuse, I think the consequences of that abuse are more likely to be worse with government sponsored news.

#37 Darren H

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:24 AM

To me, the most interesting aspect of this discussion is how it reveals what might be the most significant, grass roots-level ideological divide in 21st century America: who do you trust more? The market or the government?

#38 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:32 AM

A healthy dose of skepticism is required for both, but I don't know that its ideological. Just seems to make sense: a corporate stooge faces competition from other corporations; a government stooge will seek to eliminate competition.

I'm exaggerating, of course--I don't think that the US news industry (whether NPR or Foxnews) is anything like Xinhua. But taken to extremes, the potential for damage by newsmedia sponsored by corporate interests is less than that sponsored by government interests. The power of the market vs the power of the gun.

#39 Darren H

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:40 AM

Just seems to make sense: a corporate stooge faces competition from other corporations; a government stooge will seek to eliminate competition. . . . But taken to extremes, the potential for damage by newsmedia sponsored by corporate interests is less than that sponsored by government interests. The power of the market vs the power of the gun.


Those are statements of ideology.

#40 M. Leary

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:40 AM

A healthy dose of skepticism is required for both, but I don't know that its ideological.


And I am not so much interested in the corporate vs. government issue in this thread. I am more interested in the principle of benevolence that has expressed itself both corporately and federally in public broadcasting funding for years. I can't take these few conservatives pleas to cut the federal side of this benevolence very seriously. Yeah, it costs a few hundred million dollars a year. But I doubt someone like Palin would bat an eye at spending the same amount of money in one day in Iraq.

Edited by M. Leary, 14 February 2011 - 09:41 AM.