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Saturday, December 19, 2009

"More Marks"

When I was an indentured servant down at Raytheon in Sudbury I worked with a chap, Matt the Elder, who was always extolling the virtues of NPR and pointing that it was wrong to listen and not contribute.

I, on the other hand, was a little dubious about the whole thing, noting that there was the Federal contribution and then there was the advertising revenue—the "underwriters".

So, when I read the Alex Beam commentary. on the 18th I took it to heart.  Thank you Mr Beam.  The key paragraph was:
Yes, I hear you saying, but it’s only public radio.  Only public radio, my eye.  WBUR is the second-most listened to morning station in Boston, after WBZ, and ranks fourth in evening drive time. WGBH, which until recently combined news and classical music programming, ranks below 20 in both categories.  Public radio types don’t like to crow about share points, but more listeners means more marks come pledge drive time.  And advertisers - sorry, underwriters - pay more for placement on shows with big audiences. Numbers matter, a lot.
I was a little disturbed by the line "more listeners means more marks", but in the end, it is true that the listeners are the marks, and when it is pledge time there is a lot of programing time devoted to getting the marks to forward money.

Sorry, Matt, but I am with Alex Beam here.  That said, we should admit that Public Broadcasting in Eastern Massachusetts does a pretty good job of bringing us the issues.  Not perfect, but the depth of coverage puts most other branches of the MSM to shame.  Go ahead; make my day.  Ask me who is better.

Regards  —  Cliff


Anonymous said...

It would seem that Public Radio, now that so little of it is funded by the public and it relies on underwriters and members, should be something that conservatives would highly favor: it survives or dies because of the marketplace.

C R Krieger said...


You make a good point and I will tell you that I favor it.  It is just that Public Radio's ability to attract me is not as high as some other activities out there.  I would rather give $100 to Michael Yon or Mike Totten.  Just a free market choice.

Regards  —  Cliff