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Thursday, March 10, 2011

NPR Management Style

A friend of mine includes me in his EMails on various topics.  I know none of the other folks, but they are sometimes insightful and sometimes informative.

One of them wrote, re the recent NPR imbroglio
The resignations in recent days of Ron Schiller, Vivian Schiller, and Ellen Weiss are indicative of the guilt they all feel and [a] cause for celebration. Soon NPR will be defunded.
I missed the Ellen Weiss thing.  She resigned from NPR in January of this year, but it looks like she was encouraged to do so.  She is the person who fired Commentator Juan Williams with a text message.

Frankly, I am concerned about an organization that has no internal process for correcting mistakes and whose only management tool is the pink slip.  It is an approach of "You are either with us or against us."  There seems to be no middle ground here.  And firing someone with a text message shows a decided lack of class.

The best spin I can put on it is a belief that those who have transgressed must be cut off immediately, for fear they will infect the rest of the body.

I don't think this is any way to run a railroad.  But, then, I have never managed an organization as big or as important as NRP.  The best I have done is 1,200 people, a half a billion dollars worth of airplanes and a whole bunch of nuclear weapons.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Yes, he lives on the right side of Lowell, but his mind and heart are on the left side.
  In the interest of full disclosure, I have always liked Mr Juan Williams, both when he was at NPR and when I would see him on Fox News.


Anonymous said...

The question remains, "Why do we need a national radio station?" Is it, as Ms. Schiller has advocated, a mouthpiece for the central government, the voice of the Federal big brother. While the argument can and is being made that the BBC has a long and honorable history of being the official British voice in the world, there are many in the Empire who would argue that what they were being force fed via the BBC was the predigested official mindset of British hoi toi. In the 60's, that notion was so acute that a number of renegade radio stations took up anchorage in international waters off the British Isles...much to the chagrin of the official British nanny state.

NPR serves no function not already provided by a wealth of public and private media outlets...and in the day of the Internet...their value is even less than at any time in their sordid history.

lance said...

NPR is what puts me to sleep at night, especially if they are broadcasting an hour of the BBC. I don't know what I will do without it.

It is also the source of the only balanced news we get in this country. I for one will be sorry to see it go. I also wake to it.

You will miss Will Shortz on WESUN and Scott Simon is great on WESAT. Of course no more Garrison Keillor or Wait!Wait!. And what about car talk?

C R Krieger said...

But NRP isn't going away.  Per their own executives, it will survive the cut in federal underwriting.

And Garrison Keillor will survive.  He was here in Lowell just this last Sunday, giving a talk at the Memorial Auditorium, which was not filled to capacity.  Apparently he appeals only to a certain segment of the public.  He is not the draw Golden Gloves is.

I think we too early mourn the loss of this cultural icon.

Please don't argue from Rush Limbaugh.  Rush pays his own way (heck, he now has his own radio station up here in Eastern Mass, after a local station dropped him) and when he no longer pays his own way he will go away and few will move to subsidize him into retirement.

As to going to sleep, I recommend "Night Prayer".  Somewhere in there is something about a clear conscience allowing one to fall asleep quickly and easily.  One of the Psalms, as I recall.

Regards  —  Cliff