Fred Flaxman’s article “Keeping the Public Out of Public Radio” [Commentary, May 7] needlessly insults WCQS and blurs the line between general public access to programming decisions and his own interest in getting airtime for his own shows. His shows may be good, but his views about WCQS do not represent mine.
I have listened to WCQS for the last quarter-century, and I have also listened extensively to public-radio stations all across this country. Particularly in the area of classical-music programming, I have yet to find another station that offers the intelligence of commentary and the quality of selection that WCQS does. Much of this must be thanks to Dick Kowal’s steady guidance over the years. I like a station that doesn’t just play the most famous pieces over and over, but broadens my horizons. I always hear good and interesting pieces I’ve never heard before on WCQS, and I love it.
Mr. Flaxman’s suggestion that WCQS create a local magazine program to “reflect the area’s life and people” ignores the fact that WCQS already has programs that showcase local music traditions (hosted by Don Pedi and Wayne Erbsen), that explore local health care (Evening Rounds), and that allow local people from all walks of life to come into the studio to share their worlds with us (Conversations). David Hurand may be understated compared to the shrill talk-show hosts on the national scene, but he provides deep community service and a really thoughtful look at all that goes on around here.
I often find myself waiting to get out of my car because I want to hear the end of some WCQS show. I imagine newcomers like Mr. Flaxman might find the slow and thoughtful pace of local culture frustrating and think they can show us something better, and maybe they can, but [Mr. Flaxman] could also learn how to speak more respectfully of what we have here. Sure, we could talk about WCQS programming, but I would hate to spoil the station by misguided attempts to “improve” it. It is already a gem the way it is.
— Erik Bendix
Editor’s note: According to WCQS Program Director Barbara Sayer, there has been no charge to the station for use of the Flaxman show, “Compact Discoveries.”