NPR: FAIR Game

Austin Airwave’s Jim Radio sent along a pithy post on PBS and NPR from FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, link on right) entitled “Don’t Defund Public Broadcasting—Improve It.” It takes on the rabid response to NPR’s firing of Juan Williams — with charges the network’s run by some sort of left-wing cabal — with this type of argument:

The charge is nonsense — and always has been. FAIR’s research of NPR and PBS programming over the past 20 years has consistently shown a tilt towards elite guests and sources — government officials, corporate representatives and journalists from the commercial media. FAIR’s new study of public television (Extra!, 11/10) finds the same: a system that, by and large, fails to offer the “public” much of a hearing at all.

That narrow range of voices is bad when it’s on commercial television, but it’s even worse when you consider that public television’s founding document calls for a system that would give voice to those “who would otherwise go unheard” and help us to “see America whole, in all its diversity.”

The threats from the right to zero out public broadcasting are decades old, and there’s no reason to think they will work this time around. But what they can do is remind those in power at PBS and NPR that the right expects them to act. And that part of their strategy has always been remarkably effective, particularly on public television. Conservative pundits have been granted airtime over the years — often as hosts of their own shows — in order to placate right-wing critics. That’s how the Wall Street Journal editorial page got its own show on public television a few years back, along with a program for conservative pundit Tucker Carlson (FAIR Action Alert, 9/17/04).

Public broadcasting should be pushed, of course — to live up to the high-minded ideals that established these systems in the first place, not to please conservative politicians or to serve up programming that corporate underwriters want to bring to the airwaves. Last week, many public television stations were airing Food Sense, a documentary about the nation’s food supply that, according to its producer’s website, was underwritten by agribusiness giant Monsanto. The site describes the show: “ABC News Now contributor and Today show food trends editor Phil Lempert and a group of industry experts illuminate a one-hour public television special that asks and answers the important questions surrounding the nation’s food supply.” This is “public” television?

If the pressure from the right is to be effectively countered, it’s not nearly enough to say, “Don’t Defund NPR.” What is needed is a call for public broadcasting to fulfill its mission, bringing independent, provocative programming that features voices ignored or marginalized by the commercial media [emphasis added].

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Rice: Battle Lines Being Drawn

In response to an earlier post about Rice University, correspondent Julie noted: “Rice University started secretly looking for potential buyers about a year ago. They didn’t get an offer they couldn’t refuse.” Indeed. It seems that the solons at the Harvard of the South feel this is the way to bring up young Owls to better cope with today’s reality: Sneak behind their backs and spring it on them when they’re not looking.

Jim Radio sent along an exchange that shows the fat lady has yet to start warbling, though, with thanks to RadioActive Gavin Dahl, Community Broadcast Coordinator of Common Frequency, and Joey Yang, the student manager of KTRU-FM:

Hey Joey:
In the two months since we first spoke you have been busy! Common Frequency would still like to offer free technical assistance to work toward keeping KTRU in the hands of students. What’s the latest? Who is the attorney you’ve hired? Are you trying to fight the transfer or is there any room for another strategy, such as what we suggested back in August?Gavin

No worries, I’m not the technical guy at all, still learning about this stuff.

If you can convince Rice to keep the translator, and feed it with the HD2 channel of KPFT (or another station, if somebody else less “political” offers you the spectrum), there is still the issue of U of H’s desire to keep the translator. It is possible this could be addressed by encouraging U of H to apply for a “hop” for the 91.7 frequency.

My understanding is the hop would live near U of H, receiving the 91.7 signal and sending it out to cover more ground. Todd knows all about this, but it is a kind of workaround that is apparently still kinda uncommon and tricky, but totally legal.

Hey Gavin,
1) The sale has been finalized, unfortunately. We’re taking this to the FCC with a petition to deny the transfer of the license. The sale also includes the translator — no FM for us in the near future, unfortunately. We tried, though; Rice just dug themselves too deep of a negotiation hole (out of sheer ignorance) to win the translator back after they initially offered it to UH without knowing how well it could serve us.

2) We’ve hired the _____ firm out of DC, who will be taking us on pro bono. They’ll be helping us compile information and arguments and filing the petition to deny. [Austin Airwaves, and others, will also be filing Petitions to Deny. — Jim]

3) We’re still exploring other options, including leasing an HD-2 stream from another station [that would be KPFT — Jim].
Any other ideas?  Thanks!

Joey

Canucks Buck HD

This new post from Radio World, entitled “Canada in Digital Radio Limbo,” states in effect that digital radio is dead in the water in the northlands. It opens thus:

Going nowhere: These two words succinctly sum up the state of Canadian digital radio broadcasting, or DRB.

Despite years of offering Eureka-147 DAB simulcasts of AM and FM signals in L-band (1452–1492 MHz) in major metro markets, broadcasters have virtually no listeners and no market profile.

“L-band DAB is in limbo,” said Canadian broadcast technical consultant Wayne Stacey, who has been involved with Canadian DRB for the past 20 years. “In fact, from a transmission standpoint, the band is dying.”

Meanwhile, HD Radio — the iBiquity Digital in-channel, on-band (IBOC) system — has been authorized for experimental FM broadcasts in Canada since 2006.

Yet, despite the willingness of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to fast-track licenses in this format, “not one broadcaster has come to us to request one,” said CRTC Vice Chair Michel Arpin. “Industry Canada, who is in charge of the radio spectrum, has said that they are also willing to set HD Radio standards, but nobody has cared to file a request with them either.”

Apparently, the system Canada rolled out in the early 1990s was one of a kind — different than European DAB and HD here — and nobody would make the radios to pick up the signals on the 70-odd stations who bought into it. And now the end nears:

Today, DAB transmitters at Toronto’s CN Tower and other transmitter sites are beginning to fail due to old age, and when they do die, no one replaces them.

“I know that a few broadcasters have handed back their L-band licenses, rather than buy new equipment,” said Stacey. “CBC Radio has given back theirs in Montréal. The service was taken off for tower renovation, but it is not being restored after the work is done.”

Now, with Canadian companies once burned on digital dreams are loath to follow Bob Struble to the Neverland of HD radio:

Canadian broadcasters are not moving to add HD Radio services, preferring instead to stick with analog AM and FM.

“Broadcasters here still want to see how HD Radio fares in the States, where the rollout has slowed down and issues with AM HD Radio have yet to be fixed,” said Stacey. “. . . So our broadcasters — already burned by DAB — are understandably reluctant to commit any money to HD Radio, especially in this economy.”

Today, Canadian radio is firmly committed to AM and FM, with no action by either public or private broadcasters to make the permanent jump to digital.

A commenter to the story says stick a fork in it — it’s done:

What is this incessant need to digital the world? Does every service known to man need to be digitized? Virtually every radio listener on the planet couldn’t care any less about digital radio. There’s no disputing this. So, here we have a minority of radio insiders with big business and big government connections attempting to force feed it to the world. The simple fact is — radio has now become a niche and mass appeal is gone. Digitizing it won’t bring it back. Changing modes won’t bring it back. I suggest holding on to what remains of radio listeners should be the first priority of the industry. Finding out what will keep them and what works and what doesn’t should be question of the day. But no, not that. Instead RW and other radio entities track the digitizing of the industry like it’s the holy grail. You people are so foolish.

Music City Madness

The action is still hot and heavy on the Save WRVU Facebook site, where 4,900 have signed on to help save Vanderbilt’s student radio station. This comment made Monday set off a firestorm:

••••••••• Can whoever runs this board also please change the order of who should be receiving letters? WRVU is an affiliate of VSC, not Vanderbilt University. I’m a student at Vanderbilt and was Editor in Chief of The Slant, Vanderbilt’s humor and satire newspaper. I personally know the students that make the decisions whether WRVU gets the axe or not. And to be clear, students make the decision, not Chris Carroll. So seriously, send mail to VSC and then the students (read: decision-makers) will know how you feel.

At least part of the hard feelings stem from the lack of station representation on the VSC (Vanderbilt Student Communications) board that will make the determination:

Pete Wilson: It is true that it is the VSC Board (3 faculty members and 5 students) that will make the decision, not Chris Carroll. As I understand it, though, four of the students are current or former Hustler (the Vanderbilt student newspaper) staffers, and the fifth is actually related to Chris Carroll. (I get this information, and much of the following, from a letter written to Chancellor Zeppos by a group of WRVU alumni and posted online.) The Hustler, which costs a lot of money to publish and has apparently seen sinking ad revenues, can legitimately be seen as in competition with WRVU — the reason for selling the station is said to be to create an endowment to help fund the Hustler and other student publications. That certainly suggests the possibility of bias on the Board (though I have no knowledge that there really is such bias. At the very least I believe there is a conflict of interest). No one affiliated with WRVU is on the Board, or was notified when the Board began discussing the idea of selling WRVU last spring (station staff were not informed until September). At one time — the alumni letter estimates about ten years ago — each of the major VSC divisions was directly represented on the Board, so this shutting-out of the WRVU student staff could not have happened. The change abolishing direct representation from all the major divisions appears to have been made during Carroll’s tenure as student media advisor, which began in 1996, though the writers of the alumni letter were unable to pin down a date or tell about the exact circumstances of the change. Assuming the truth of all I’ve said, which I mostly got secondhand, it appears to me that several developments have converged to make it easier for the VSC Board to convert WRVU into cash. Whether this was planned or accidental I cannot determine beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Sharon Vegas Selby: I have no doubt that it is a VERY complex plan Pete . . . a plan that was begun 14 years ago & has developed oh-so-slowly until they were ready to make the kill. Great work again “Best of Nashville” Pete . . . Only one point can be debated — the relationship of Chris Carroll to Phil Carroll. Turns out that was a rumor handed to us by the VSC . . . likely as a means to make us look stupid. Meryem Dede, either you are coming to this debate too late or WAY to early. The VSC has been discussing the sale for over a year now with no input from WRVU. They can’t be trusted & they MUST be stopped.

•••••••••, who is listed as editor emeritus of The Slant, the school’s humor magazine, took issue with this, saying that any student who wanted to be a part of the VSC board could, that all of the journalists were one big happy family.

Pete Wilson: That the Board discussed selling WRVU months before the idea was announced to others, coming in fact to a decision to offer the station for sale, and that nobody on the Board tipped off WRVU, suggests to me that VSC camaraderie has its limits. As a student publications person from way back (Hustler and Versus, early ’80s), I was rather surprised to learn that had happened. It is true, of course, that the decision to offer the station for sale did not mean that the station was gone — that will require another decision which may never be made. I hope that you are right when you say that “one publication would [not] try to sabotage another,” but just saying it doesn’t make it so. Of course, we haven’t really clarified what “sabotage” means. Personally, I think leaving WRVU in the dark about VSC’s deliberations for half a year or more does count as sabotage, whether done with malign intentions or not. I don’t imagine any of the Board students actually meant ill to the station in doing this. Nevertheless, it happened. Similar things should not happen in the future and I have faith that they will not.

The kicker comes at the end of the “discussion”:

Justin Walsh: As the primary author of both letters posted to the WordPress site, I’d just like to be clear about two things: First, we were told by VSC people that Phil Carroll was Chris Carroll’s nephew. As alumni, we are not present at Vanderbilt and accepted this information at face value. Lesson learned. I have both retracted that specific assertion and apologized to Chris for accusing him of having a familial conflict of interest. He never responded to that apology, and reportedly laughed when it was brought up to him by Mikil Taylor.

Second, those of us who were involved in VSC due to our executive positions at WRVU — even not so very long ago (i.e., 1990s and early 2000s) — remember a very different situation. Each media organization was responsible for its own budget and also supplied representatives to the VSC Board. As Vegas notes, we do not know why changes were made to a system that worked perfectly well AND guaranteed student control of their own media, but now there are no individual budgets nor does every organization have VSC representation. On top of this, there are now 7 paid VSC staff members when there used to be 1. The budget has grown because of these new salaries and now revenues are shrinking.

What this means is helicopter parenting, reduced student involvement in the aspects of media organizations that are really important, and a VSC Board prepared to sell the radio station’s license, without a single member of the board representing the station. The worst part is that even the Board’s reasoning is faulty: VSC Media Hall of Fame inductee Don Benson seems to think the license is an asset that will only continue to appreciate. VSC will sell at the bottom of the market.

VU has the right to step in and change things on two counts: they supply 60% of VSC’s funding, and the Chancellor has the right to approve or disapprove changes to the VSC bylaws. Will they live up to that responsibility? Chancellor Zeppos has also not responded to our letter to him.

Clear Foresight and Able Management

We’ve mentioned often how radio has struggled in the past couple years, losing nearly 20 percent of revenues last year alone. This explains some of the wild-eyed rush to Triple-A radio as the perceived cure for what ails our “public” radio stations. But as mentioned in this on the original saveKUTaustin website,”Fuzzy Math: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics,” all the self-justification in the world may not be enough to save the bean counters. As noted in pages of a report from the Radio Research Consortium entitled “Audience 2010”:

Managing the business of public service was difficult enough while listening and revenues continued to rise. It will be exceptionally challenging when both are stagnant. Development professionals will be called on to earn more from listeners per listener-hour — a feat they’ve heretofore been unable to sustain. Programmers will be called upon to generate more public service per programming dollar – putting pressure on high cost, low return local programming.

Management initiatives that presume audience and revenue growth over the long term will be called upon to prove out sooner, or be adjusted mid-course, or be abandoned. As an industry, we seem to be at a real point of inflection. We might wait a couple years to be sure, but by then it may be too late. If listener-sensitive resources do not grow, our ability to invest in new endeavors will be limited.

The threat of a downward spiral looms. The reinvigoration of public service and public support calls for clear foresight and able management.

In this report, we address the central finding that public radio is no longer a growth industry. Or at least it won’t be for the immediate future, as its ability to earn listener-sensitive revenues (particularly individual giving) is predicated on (and predicted by) listening. This finding has significant ramifications for those used to budgeting on the presumption of financial growth [emphasis added throughout].

The expenses have mounted at a station like KUT, with its no-return HD channels, new building, expanded newsroom (Austin Chronicle writer Kevin Brass noted in 2006, “Although local news reports are heard only sporadically through the course of a day, the station spends $600,000 a year to maintain the news presence”), fundraising expenses (Kevin noted that in 2005, KUT spent $1.4 million), and new hires — not to mention a very expensive management elite.

This website of the online Texas Tribune, which has a tie-in to KUT and is thus privy to this ultra-secret information, had an interesting post about current salaries of those management types:

Jonathon S Vanderwilt Director $146,500
Hawk T Mendenhall Assoc Director $112,500
Sylvia Ponce-Carson Asst Director $97,000
David Brown Sr Producer & Corrspndt $84,000
Emily Donahue Manager $81,100
James L Reese Info Tech Manager $78,200
Valerie L Phillips Assoc Dir For Devpment $75,000
Rodney T Fehlhafer Manager $73,000
Robert J Cross Admin Mgr $72,000
Larry L Monroe A&P Hourly Employment $65,603
Paul H Ray A&P Hourly Employment $65,603
John L Aielli Sr Host/Producer $64,500
Jennifer P Stayton Sr Producer & Corrspndt $64,000
Jeffrey S McCord Manager, Kut Radio $63,300
Jay J Trachtenberg Manager $53,500
Holly J Gaete Asst Dir Development $52,254
Charles J Price Tech Staff Asst IV $52,100
Kevin B Connor On-Air Producer/Talent $52,000
James B Philpott Senior Reporter $52,000
Ida L Maldonado Sr Admin Associate $51,100
Brian L Urban Technical Staff Assoc. $49,600
John R Craig Sr Desktop Support Spec $48,400
David M Alvarez Tech Staff Asst IV $46,400
Michael J Lee Producer $46,000
Julie B Moody Reporter $45,000
Ian P Crawford Sr Producer & Corrspndt $45,000
Deepina Kapila Webmaster $45,000
Nathan J Bernier Reporter $45,000
Matthew C Reilly Sr Host/Producer $45,000
Cliff D Hargrove Tech Staff Asst IV $42,100

The top two, of course, are the architects of the Brave New World at KUT, hauling in more than a quarter mil between them. Add in Sylvia, who heads up fundraising, David and Emily, the married couple brought in from LA, and James, the head of the digital revolution, you’re talking a chunk of change: well over a half-million. Way down the list you’ll see the deejays who’ve floated this boat for decades, yet still are only paid at the rate of $65,000 a year (“at the rate” because even before Bloody Monday last year, they weren’t working a full 40 hours). As noted in another post, “How Much Is Enough?” on the saveKUTaustin site:

How do you put a price on the combined wisdom of those DJs who for years funded the station’s operations while helping build that which is now trumpeted as the Live Music Capital of the World? Larry Monroe, awarded for “Keeping the Blues Alive” by the Blues Foundation in Memphis, host of one of the longest-running blues radio shows in the country. Paul Ray, recently named to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame — besides already being named to the Texas Music Hall of Fame. John Aielli, the money-maker for KUT for decades . . . You can’t buy the type of respect they’ve earned, but we’re seeing now you sure can fritter it away. Back-handed into forced retirement, stripped of health benefits, they’re cynically re-badged as “legends” by a hyperbolic PR machine.

And as the conclusion of “Fuzzy Math” states:

Truth be told, the upheaval is just the latest management gamble in the heretofore frustrated ambition of empire building, with employee roadkill collateral damage in pursuit of the dream. The money now spent solely to secure advertising is the size of the entire KUT budget when Vanderwilt took over. The station may boast a budget three times that of San Antonio (and still somehow be not enough), but look what you’ve got when the bill becomes due: the new reality in your public radio station, where the soul purpose [sic] is maximizing market share, completing the overpass to the dealers of luxury automobiles and the landed gentry. Where once it was said that “KUT seeks out music that isn’t promoted, packaged, or hyped, music you wouldn’t find without us,” now it’s what’s hot nationwide and being played everywhere, what’s on the charts, what advertisers will pay to support. We’ve come a long way to go nowhere at all.

You Don’t Need a Weatherman . . .

In Milwaukee, Arbitron has run into resistance from some locals, according to the Journal Sentinel website post of Duane Dudek (“2 big radio chains still resisting new people-meter ratings”). He notes that “two . . . heavy hitters in the Milwaukee broadcast market — Milwaukee Radio Group, which owns five stations, including WKLH-FM (96.5) and WHQG-FM (102.9); and the Journal Broadcast Group, which owns WTMJ-AM (620) and WLWK-FM (94.5) — do not subscribe to the service.” Duane says that in a metropolitan area of better than 1.4 million people, the sample size for the Purple People Meter is around 950 (which seems high, as Austin, Texas, is about the same size and has a sample size of 780). And as we’ve seen in numerous previous posts, numbers can be skewed by just a handful of those samplers. Then there’s the cost:

“It’s hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to subscribe,” said Bill Hurwitz [vice president and general manager of the Milwaukee Radio Alliance].

Stations can pay as much as 65% more for PPM than they paid under the diary method, said Tom Taylor, of RadioInfo.com, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow in this economic climate. The Milwaukee Radio Group’s contract with Arbitron expired in the spring of 2009, “and we chose not to renew in light of the pending transition” from diary to PPM, said Annmarie Topel, vice president and general manager of the group, which is owned by Saga Communications.

She said the stations “haven’t had a lot of challenges” not having the ratings because “the product is still the product, and the result is still the result.”

Steve Wexler, executive vice president of radio and television operations for Journal Broadcast Group, believes a blind adherence to numbers can hurt more than help:

[W]exler rose through the ranks of the Journal Broadcast Group as a programmer, and feels an over-reliance on ratings data comes at the expense of “understanding the market and the sensibilities of the audience.”

“If you just go by the data, you’d be making changes all the time,” said Wexler. . . . “Are the ratings potentially valuable? Sure. But when I hear people say, ‘I have to have them,’ and ‘What do I do without them?’ I wonder, is that all we’re making decisions on? A spreadsheet? If Arbitron went out of business tomorrow, we’d still make sure our stations are appealing and had good programming. Ultimately, the market tells you. Advertisers would let us know in the most direct way possible, if they don’t spend money with you.

“That has not happened. So we must be doing a good job of attracting audiences and meeting their needs.”

Juan Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The canning of “analyst” Juan Williams by NPR over his comments on Cluster Fox News has created a firestorm of conservative protest, as well as no small amount of consternation among radio activists — who are not altogether opposed to the Republican call to de-fund the organization. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin make very strange bedfellows, after all. As reported here, in a post called “The CPB: Bull in the China Shop,” and again here, in a post entitled “All Things Beggared,” and in numerous other posts, the influence of Corporation for Public Broadcasting largesse has had a deleterious effect on local public radio stations, which are more often the beneficiaries of the beneficence — as long as the money is used as directed. Therein lies the rub, as money snatched from local hands is poured into junk HD channels (40 percent of those nationwide are run by public radio stations), pumped-up local news organizations à la Project Argo, and the like at the behest of the CPB and NPR and its lab.

Moreover, as often mentioned herein, NPR has all too often appeared to be drifting to the right — contrary to its claim of consummate objectivity and diametrically opposed to the “liberal media” claptrap of the far right. The genius of the Republican party over the past decades has been its ability to control the agenda, define the talking points, outflank the opposition with its “death” panels, “death” taxes, and more (subsidized, now, by the anonymous industry barons they rail against in their evangelistic fervor directed at the masses). The “liberal media” sobriquet has long been a bad joke among those left of center.

But it is indeed interesting to hear that NPR has been inundated with protest emails and calls, to the extent that its overworked server crashed in the onslaught. So all these conservatives actually listen to this radical radio? Not entirely likely.

The story has appeared on all the networks and in the papers. The Washington Post website had this to say about it:

However poorly NPR handled the Williams incident, the notion that NPR is “left wing” is ridiculous. Williams’ presence on the network is emblematic of the network’s milquetoast approach to political analysis. The reason Williams was let go wasn’t because of the all powerful left, but because NPR is so concerned with the perception of bias that it didn’t want one of its analysts associated with a network that works as a staging ground for Republican presidential hopefuls. NPR’s commitment to a contrived form of journalistic objectivity may be counterproductive from the point of view of informing its audience, but there’s no question that even prior to this incident Williams’ appearances on FOX went against NPR’s code of ethics, which advises employees to “not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist.”

And in the comments section, readers had more to add:

I have to say that 1) Williams’ remarks were not isolated, but rather illustrate a pattern that goes back almost 20 years, 2) Williams’ remarks did not represent the standards of practice of NPR, and so Williams undermines his employers, and 3) Williams is gonna be just fine without NPR . . . and NPR will be fine without him. There is a difference between “milquetoast” and “choosing not to insert personal viewpoints” . . . and what’s more, Williams failed to address the epidemic of hate speech coming from Fox News and thereby failed to stand up for justice for an oppressed group. So, Williams didn’t break some rule of journalism. He broke a rule of NPR News. Time for both to part ways.

Or this:

I think the arguments from the right are, as usual, canards drifting away from the salient issue in Williams firing.

He was really, really bad as a political commentator at NPR (wimpy as they are). He sucked as a replacement for Ray Suarez on “Talk of the Nation” and he has remained a very unimpressive paperweight since. NPR can certainly find better, more coherent and incisive commentators. Williams is content to play a Colmes-type role at Fox in an illusion so let him. If he is more comfortable in the entertainment business, fine. But please, don’t fall for the conflation that Fox burps out.

And:

Juan Williams today called for NPR to stop taking Government funds. He says they are on the dole. Juan got religion on that issue, on the day after he was taken off the dole. Up until then, he had no problems with it.

Again:

NPR has the very same right to determine who gets to speak on air, as Rush Limbaugh does. He screens the calls, and decides who he will let speak, and not speak. Furthermore, NPR has not done anything to stop Juan Williams from speaking. All they have done is decided to stop paying him for saying stuff on their broadcasts. Juan was not engaging in free speech on NPR. He was being paid by them. He was engaging in Fee, not Free Speech.

Be that as it may, the whole imbroglio has turned attention to a subject that has long passed under the radar: the funding of the CPB and the CPB’s effect on local “public” radio. The righteous indignation on the right now is more than a bit contrived, in our point of view, given the fact that bunches of emails have been sent to various Republican congress members concerning CPB funding — including Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison — and to date, not one has replied. They’ve found religion over Juan Williams going cuckoo?

We would encourage everybody energized by the threat to local radio to follow the link on the left entitled “What Can I Do?” Therein you’ll find the arguments as they should be presented to congress. Add your voice and interpretation to help penetrate the babble, but above all, strike while the iron is hot. If nothing else is accomplished, any “public” station that receives taxpayer funding should be required by law to give full financial disclosure. The fact that many of our public stations — particularly those run under the auspices of universities, which entail 63 percent of public radio stations — can hide their improvidence behind state laws smacks all too much of a politics bought and sold on the market to clandestine operators. Let’s put the “public” back in public radio.

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