Tuesday, August 09, 2005

my letter to public radio RE: cancelling The Connection

"I am worried, as I think many people are, that by the next fundraising campaign, there won't be much left to support on public radio.

I learned today that Dick Gordon's The Connection, was summarily cancelled. I learned this by tuning in, and finding another show, On Point, had taken it's slot. After some research I found out that Mr. Gordon was as surprised as I was at the death of his program. As of this writing, no solid reason has been offered for the show's cancellation. With ratings up 22 percent, WBUR kills it's award-winning flagship program? There's only one way this 'programming change' makes sense, and that's as a casualty of the culture war.

It is common knowledge that public broadcasting is under attack. This atmosphere makes it easy to imagine the cancellation of The Connection was a victory celebrated by Ken Thomlinson and critters of his stripe. We also know that Michael Feldman is being pressured to move toward a pre-recorded format. That sounds like another attack and it makes me wonder what unreasonable demands are being made of Terry Gross. Or Ira Glass. How is All Things Considered faring in this atmosphere? Is this the last season of Studio 360, too?

I have been a public radio supporter since college. You can tell Thomlinson that your members will not retreat. As you are being attacked from within, we will not withdraw our support."


Blogger tony not Tony said...

i went postal on npr when they fired bob edwards- its hard to deny that that was not a "boot kick to the right" and i dont have much respect left for the lot of them corporate suits in public broadcastin', outside of local productions. however, i dont think it is a conspiracy at wbur from the politicos as it is a breed of programmers struggling with change:
ie chris lydon (the original host is now on a competing network)
blogs, satellite radio, etc.

Cutting off the nose to spite the face is a bad choice however. killing the connection is genuinely stupid. it had legs. wbur fired mike goldfarb as well, which is going rarely noticed, and stupid to me also.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

wasn't he the london correspondent? am i thinking of the same person?

Thursday, August 11, 2005 9:25:00 AM  
Blogger Brook said...


Thank you for your encouraging message. I don't have any particular insights into the cancellation of "The Connection," but I think it has more to do with WBUR's internal turmoil than with attacks by those who are opposed to federal support for public broadcasting. WBUR has been through a very difficult year, including the departure of their long-time general manager, Jane Christo. There have been reports of enormous deficits, and I think the cancellation of "The Connection" saved them about a million dollars. For stations, the economics of producing and distributing national programs are brutal and one reason we have steered away from them.

This is an old article, and there are more recent ones which describe what's going on at WBUR.


It was gratifying to read your e-mail and we appreciate it very much.

Rob Gordon
General Manager, WPLN

Thursday, August 11, 2005 9:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WPLN-nashville FM/AM public broadcasting is sinking in debt. Their bons ratind has been lowered. http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/index.cfm?section=10&screen=news&news_id=42727

Friday, August 12, 2005 9:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add to the end of the above web address d=42727

Friday, August 12, 2005 9:19:00 AM  
Blogger Brook said...

the first one works fine -- thanks for the link!

Friday, August 12, 2005 9:32:00 AM  
Blogger Brook said...

i hope they pull thru this. i keep the WPLN 1430 station on all day -- on three radios! as i'm doing my routine throughout the house. even bought 2 Tivoli radios to hear it in all it's glory. right now it's on in the sunroom, kitchen, bedroom and living room -- which reminds me -- i need to stop drinking coffee and start doing stuff. :)

we got Sirius radio to hear AAR, and decided to keep it after the AAR defection b/c we realized we still listened to 1430 instead of AAR. We keep Sirius for the music -- Pure Jazz, Underground Garage and Sirius Disorder.

best of luck to WPLN in attracting those corporate sponsors and new members! i've been in advertising and can say it's the best buy out there regardless of numbers -- you get an unsaturated "canvas" for your message. you reach people who are active listeners. and you reach folks who attach loyalty to the sponsorship message.

Friday, August 12, 2005 9:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: WPLN can be listened to live on the web for no additional cost.

Sunday, August 14, 2005 11:08:00 AM  

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