Today, I learned that one of my favorite National Public Radio (NPR) shows, Tell Me More will be taken off the air August 1st. In addition to cancellation of the show there are 28 positions that are being eliminated.
As reported by NPRs The Two-Way, “These times require that we organize ourselves in different ways and that we’re smarter about how we address the different platforms that we reach our audiences on,” NPR Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson said. “We’re trying to make the most of the resources that we have and ensure that we keep radio healthy and try to develop audience in the digital arena.”
The content of Tell Me More is geared toward discussion of issues primarily in the African American community. There are also topics that span other ethnic communities. The host Michele Martin brings topics to the listening audience that spread across many spectrum from issues regarding education, the economy to topics about poetry and the arts. One popular segment the Barbershop discussed weekly news items that impact the African American community.
I give to my local (WLTR) and hometown (WBEZ) public radio stations but wonder if I could give more. I know that my NPR subscription is a tiny percentage in the big picture but put with others it does make a difference. There has been increased discussion of what each individual citizen’s responsibility is to society. We understand immediate human needs but when it comes to intellectual needs we seem to miss the mark.
While volunteering during the United States Post Office “Stamp Out Hunger” campaign on May 10th, I was encourage by the postal trucks returning packed with non-perishable food items. I saw that people do still care. Hunger is something that we all understand, we require food and water to survive. But do we need public radio and public TV to survive? My answer is YES!
My generation born during the 1960s were raised on Electric Company, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, and my favorite ZOOM. Who can give me the ZOOM mailing address? Give up it is PO Box 350, Boston, MASS 02134. Sure this was the time when the most interesting electronic device besides the huge turntable console (you know the thing that played vinyl records) was the television. There were no iPhones, iPods, iPads, CD players, portable cassette players and not even 8-tracks (google it).
My point is we have to care about public radio and television. There is still a need for it in our society to help educate, motivate, and encourage knowledge. Without knowledge we are extinct. Each society is supposedly more intelligent more insightful than previous ones but maybe we aren’t especially if we allow a program like Tell Me More to leave the airwaves.
Sadly when we look for solutions most times it turns back to money. So with that I encourage you to give to your local public broadcast networks. Let’s keep shows of substance and importance on the airwaves.
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