Turn off the radio, Bob!

One has to shake one’s head trying to come up with a response to Bob Youngerman’s diatribe on pulling funding from public broadcasting — namely, National Public Radio [“Please Tell Me Why I Should Support NPR,” April 6 Xpress].

It’s obvious that Mr. Youngerman, the “unaffiliated voter with a conservative bent,” is ignorant of the percentage breakdown of federal funding for NPR. Maybe I can shed some light on his dim, Limbaugh-Fox News thinking.

The Federal Budget for 2010 was approximately $3.5 trillion. Out of that, $80 million went to fund the local member stations of NPR. That breakdown is 0.002 percent of the total federal budget. That’s $80 million the U.S. government contributed to bring news, arts and entertainment to not only urban areas but to rural areas in this country — the kinds of communities that disproportionately rely on federal funding for their public radio stations.

Contrast this $80 million to the $1.3 billion that the government spends on printing oftentimes wasteful, useless stuff. Then there is the $328 million spent on the U.S. Capitol Police to protect our esteemed members of Congress. Then there’s the $747 million that goes to fund public radio for foreign countries — almost 10 times the amount earmarked for Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other U.S. international radio networks in the Middle East. And, let’s not overlook the $5.7 billion to fund foreign military financing which gives foreign governments the money to buy American-made weapons.

On all public media, including public TV, the U.S. spent approximately $1.43 per person in 2010. That’s less than any other industrialized country in the world. Canada spends $27 per person; the U.K. spends $86. So what do we get for that astounding $1.43 per person spent? Answer: The only non-corporate-controlled, independent media in the country.

While Bob Youngerman complains about “the so-called ‘comedy’ shows” on NPR that give “a free pass to liberals and Democrats,” I can only assume he is a regular listener of such shows. Which brings me to this point: If you’re a listener, send a check — or turn the radio off, Bob!

— Kevin D. McKee
Flat Rock

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12 thoughts on “Turn off the radio, Bob!

  1. bill smith

    [i]I can only assume he is a regular listener of such shows[/i]

    Your beg awfully generous with your assumptions. The safe bet as he based his ‘impressions’ on nothing concrete. Perhaps one listen in the car on accident.

  2. travelah

    PBS and NPR are corporations with particular political persuasions. The purpose of these corporations is no longer valid given this age of cable and satellite media.

  3. Fox and ClearChannel are corporations with particular political persuasions. The purpose of these corporations is no longer valid given this age of the failure of the free market to live up to its hype.

  4. travelah

    Are your tax monies used to fund Fox and Clear Channel Communications? If they fail in the markets it will be because of a poor business model. Fortunately for them, they have rather successful strategies. Lets see if the same works for PBS and NPR. I also take a more radical approach. I would ban any institution that receives Federal funds from funding either of those two institutions or any other corporate media business. Of course that creates some grey areas particularly with funded research activities.

  5. mule

    “Are your tax monies used to fund Fox and Clear Channel Communications?”

    Not directly. My tax monies ARE used to fund the licensing and policing of the radio spectrum that makes commercial radio (i.e. Clear Channel and Fox) possible.

  6. Weak argument, trav. Oh well….

    Even more insidiously, the money I spend on cleaning supplies pays for Fox and ClearChannel. The money I spend on paper towels pays for it. The money I spend on frozen peas pays for it. Probably the gas I have to pump into my car to go to my lousy job pays for it. Probably the money I make for the company pays for it. Who knows?

    Essentially a portion of everything I buy from a company sponsors Fox. Wow. I should stop buying things. Just like you should stop paying taxes because you don’t agree with how “your” money is spent. (Here’s a clue, it’s not yours anyway. There is no money without a central government, no matter what your free market friends and their phony monies tell you).

    But then you’d be in jail and I’d have a dirty house and no frozen peas. Wait, I can live without peas – frozen or otherwise.

    But let’s get back to what you said earlier: We don’t need the Corporation for Public Broadcasting anymore. Care to elucidate? Or is that just another conservative “statement of fact” that we are supposed to accept without question, just like the handlers want us to?

  7. travelah

    elucidate …. Public broadcasting was set up when there were two and then three broadcast networks, period… nothing else. Today you have hundreds of channel options with everything imaginable under the sun. Its purpose has passed.

  8. And yet all those options are essentially owned by the original three broadcasters or their new corporate ownership – in essence we still have three, maybe four, choices of how the information is filtered and sent out and all of them are heavily tied to the corporate capitalists and their idea of right and wrong is overwhelmingly presented to the exclusion of all other points of view.

    Unless you are just blatantly anti-democratic, you cannot agree that this is a good thing. Maybe you can argue that is how markets operate but markets are inherently anti-democratic to begin with.

  9. travelah

    The companies carrying the content are not the one’s, generally speaking, who control the content. Of course with Comcast’s purchase of NBC, you have a bit more ammo for your case.
    I do not support democracy initiatives in private business.

  10. bill smith

    [i]The companies carrying the content are not the one’s, generally speaking, who control the content.[/i]

    I’m going to let that one just marinate for a bit…

    Funny stuff.

  11. bill smith

    [i]Maybe you can argue that is how markets operate but markets are inherently anti-democratic to begin with. [/i]
    Yes, but let’s not forget Democracy is a dirty word.

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