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Website Campaigns to Keep the Public in Public Radio

Keeping the Public in Public Radio

My pal John Anderson at alerts us to a new group blog written by some fellow radio survivors who intend to hold public radio’s feet to the fire, called Keeping the Public in Public Radio (KTPIPR). Featuring the contributions of public radio supporters, authors and broadcasters, the site is covering the changing landscape of public radio which often mirrors commercial radio in emphasizing national programming and ratings over local service.

The site’s bloggers hailing from Boston and Austin are focusing on changes happening at the public stations in those cities, WGBH and KUT, respectively. Concerns over KUT, owned by the University of Texas, stem from July 2009 changes in which three long-time DJs had their roles reduced while the station’s playlist became more “structured.” More recently the site has been critically following plans for the station to take over the university’s on campus bar and music venue, the Cactus Café.

For WGBH complaints arise from the station’s December, 2009 decision to go all-talk, canceling long-running folk and blues programs. A growing priority on news and information programming has been happening at public radio stations nationwide for well over a decade, with many long-running local music programs coming to an end. Even back in 1997 when I attended the CPB’s Public Radio Program Directors conference the emphasis was on research indicating that moneyed listeners valued keystone syndicated programs like All Things Considered more than local programming, especially music. Since then the trend has only grown.

KTPIPR isn’t only focusing on Boston and Austin, it’s got at least four other stations on its radar for regular coverage, along with keeping a wide angle lens on the national scene. The site also takes aim at NPR for the network’s support of HD Radio, calling it the “Huge Debacle.”

KTPIPR has been going strong for about a month and a half. I’m always supportive of informed and critical coverage of radio issues, so I’m hoping the site’s authors can keep it up.

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