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Is Public Broadcasting Needed Anymore?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Flying Headbutt, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    At a National Press Club luncheon on Monday, now deposed CEO Vivian Schiller told the audience that NPR was "a public service" in arguing why it should continue to receive federal funding. To me, that answer was absurdly arrogant.

    I know a lot of people really like NPR and PBS. But with all the broadcasting outlets that exist now, should the government be subsidizing any of them? Or has the time come for those companies to be self-supporting?
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

  3. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    This came up in Cokie Roberts appearance on MSNBC this morning.

    She pointed out that in rural areas, NPR stations receive a greater percentage of funding from the government and are more likely to provide a service that others don't.

    And, while that might be nice, I'm not convinced that it's a service that's necessary. And, I don't think it's enough of an argument to justify public financing.

    Also, the fact that there is a government subsidized radio station in the market could be the very reason that a for profit station doesn't exist. Why would someone start a station, and incur the risk and costs, when there's already a subsidized station in place. You wouldn't be able to compete.

    The costs to broadcast are now incredibly low. (There's already Free Libyan Radio on the air in Eastern Libya.) It's the license and regulations that make it expensive.

    I don't se why these stations couldn't either make up for the funding or be replaced by commercial stations if they went away.
  4. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    As much as NPR uses the smaller/rural stations to justify their continued government funding, I read this post, and think that the day will come where -- without government funding -- NPR will throw them overboard the minute it becomes in their best interest. (The only thing that might stop them is the composition of the board, which is heavily weighed towards local stations):

  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Yeah, we need it because it's the only good radio. The rest all sounds the same.
  6. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Well, it wouldn't go away without public funding.

    As the link above points out, it's programming could easily be distributed over the internet, and with smart phones, etc., internet radio is much easier to access.

    And, if it went way, who's to say that someone wouldn't fill the gap?
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    They sure as hell aren't filling the gap now.
  8. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    So it's incumbent on the government to use tax dollars to entertain you? There's no way the programming you like can be funded entirely without tax dollars?
  9. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Why would they? How could they compete against a commercial free, subsidized competitor?

    No one is competing against the Post Office for basic, residential mail service. Now, I'm not suggesting we put the Post Office out of business, but if it did go away, that service would be replaced by the private sector. But (besides the fact that it's illegal), to compete against the Post Office now would be suicidal.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    No. It's all the sweeter when I know teabaggers are fuming that Prairie Home Companion is costing them .002 cents a year.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The Post Office has a ton of competition -- FedEX, UPS, email, newspapers delivering fliers etc.

    Radio has been watered down to the least common denominator. For the most part, Screechy talk radio and pop stations playing the same songs over and over.
  12. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    The NPR station in Boston, WBUR, has the highest ratings in morning drive time of ANY station (It's not in the book, but this is a known fact). There is a consumer demand for public radio. I'm not so sure about public television. I mean, how many doo-wop revival programs does any one society need?
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