What’s in a Name?

Non-commercial stations acting like commercial stations

There’s a website of interest to those who’d like to follow the money in public radio. This one, belonging to Public Radio Capital, lists some of the local stations that have benefited in their manifest-destiny policies — that is, in acquiring new stations to expand their reach. We’ve already reported on the $50 million that you, the taxpayer, through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, have laid out to local stations to bring up HD channels, those worthless add-ons piping out canned claptrap (much of it provided by NPR, PRI, the BBC, and the like) while mucking up adjacent channels and creating havoc for those in the heartland, for instance, used to tuning into stations from afar.

This is an additional source of money, brokered by the PRC — which is, in its own words, a “facilitator”:

Founded in 2001, PRC has led its clients through more than $240 million in radio transactions, securing public radio access for approximately 45 million people nationwide. We help public radio organizations assess their business options, secure new channels, increase revenues and expand public radio services.

By partnering with visionary organizations, foundations and individuals, PRC creates innovative opportunities in the public radio landscape. PRC is the only nonprofit in the nation that focuses on expanding the capacity and asset base of public radio.

In other words, PRC has helped public radio stations become the “consolidators” that Jerry Del Colliano of Inside Music Media writes so eloquently about, the companies like Emmis and Clear Channel and CBS, stretching their budgets to absorb more stations, mount more HD channels, build new facilities, then cutting where is “necessary” — i.e., local talent and shows, for one. This page on the site gives a rundown of the money extended to local stations for their acquisitions, some of which are shown here (click to enlarge):

Note, you Boston folks, that WGBH appears twice in this list. Not a big surprise, as their bean counters like to think big. Like some of the biggest commercial companies . . . So what’s the difference between a commercial and a non-commercial consolidator? Not a lot, really, as Jerry D. himself noted in an email exchange. But for one thing, a non-comm uses public funds and donations. And, as shown in an earlier post, it might not even give you a clue how it’s spending your money, as at KUT in Austin — not so much as a “by your leave.”


3 Responses

  1. […] Radio Capital, you may remember, is described in this post as one of the great enablers of NPR’s consolidation fervor, providing financing for these […]

  2. […] This next shows the involvement of Public Radio Capital, a source of money for public stations with expansionist plans, as detailed in an earlier post, here. […]

  3. At the time WGBH announced dropping all folk and blues programs, Jim Kweskin share this with the members of
    Supporters of Folk and Blues on WGBH:

    “I can only assume this has something to do with the almighty dollar. Isn’t this supposed to be public radio and aren’t we the public. Folk music has been a mainstay on WGBH for as long as I can remember. Acoustic artists are as popular as ever and in some ways even more popular then in days gone by. I don’t get it. WGB…H should be ashamed of itself. Well, as Ma Joad said, “We’re the people and you can’t stop us and you can’t lick us. We just keep coming, ’cause we’re the people.”
    -Jim Kweskin, November 11, 2009

    Related sources:



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: