Monday, March 23, 2009

Does NPR Have An East Coast Bias?

By Allen Bacon, Editor, The Daily Bosco

National Public Radio aired the last episode of it's popular newsmagazine Day to Day last Friday. This comes just six years after making a commitment to the West Coast as a hub of it's news operation. Day to Day was produced in Southern California.

There are a lot of people upset about the demise of this program. It was a good show. I featured it in our links as part of the Bosco Radio: News and Information lineup. I am a huge Madeleine Brand fan and I am sure she will continue to be a major player in radio news.

But, what I don't understand is the mild uproar. Do you know how radio shows are kept on the air? Usually it takes a lot of people listening. If not enough people are listening then it's not viable to keep throwing money at the show. Apparently not enough of us were listening to keep it on the air. Or in this case, not enough funding was raised to keep it going.

And it's not as if NPR is totally going away from the West. Even though 39 jobs were cut with this move, the Culver City studio is still staffed with nearly 30 reporters, producers, and support staff. Renee Montagne co-host of Morning Edition will still continue to work from the Culver City facility. And reporters still remain in such places as Denver and Tucson. So I don't see a so-called East Coast Bias going here. By the way...that's why it's called National Public should appeal to a national audience....not just one region of the country.

Day to Day was really an extension of All Things Considered which was an extension of Morning Edition. It all sounds similar to me. High quality news and information to be sure but there's a limit to what can be produced in today's economy. With the way the economy is and corporate funding for public radio projected to be down 25% this year this was all inevitable. I'd rather cut one hour of this show and save the two aforementioned shows.

Photo Credit: Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times

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