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Your tax dollars at work

Mitch Berg comments on Doug Grow's column, which half-heartedly complains about the sale of Northfield's WCAL to Minnesota Public Radio, and links to a contrary view at Spitbull.

I'm kind of ambivalent about this. I don't listen much to MPR (especially not during the annoying Pledge Week) and not at all to WCAL, but I have to agree with Mitch that continued taxpayer subsidies to a "non-profit" that rakes in $10.5 million a year are pretty questionable, especially when MPR seems hell-bent on homogenizing all public radio in the state into a centrally-controlled network run out of St. Paul and wasting quite a few of those millions in the process. Not only that, as Mitch also points out, MPR has fought tooth and nail against the proposal to license low-power FM stations that would do a lot to build more diversity into the radio smorgasbord.

Contrary to what the critics of Clear Channel are always bleating, the local radio scene is a lot more diverse now than it was two decades ago when I came to town. In 1983, it was all Top 40 and country on the FM dial, with KS95 being slightly more poppy than KQ, which was more of a rock station. Now we have a whole slew of stations playing everything from Nine Inch Nails and Korn to the Stones to Lorie Line to Romeo Void to Kenny Rogers and Loretta Lynn. So what if half of them are owned by the same company? Isn't diverse programming more important than diverse ownership?