Monday, December 1, 2008

Radio pays

Why hasn't anybody told me about Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz" radio show on NPR before? It's absolutely amazing! This kind of live interaction with the people you usually only hear on the records, it's like having them sit right here in your living room - which is exactly why I think radio is a much, much personal and intimate medium than television. (Oh, I saw Woody Allen's Radio Days just recently. As always, highly recommended. With original music by Dick Hyman . Go check it out now. Oh and there's a recent episode of "Piano Jazz" with Dick Hyman where he talks about Radio Days.)

So anyway, my soundtrack for tonight's work is Ray Charles chatting with Marian from 1990 and playing and singing and doing that thing he can do and laughing in his idiosyncratic way. Groovy!

Oh, by the way, NPR is a perfect example of how it's actually possible to create excellent programming while fairly balancing public and private funding:

According to the 2005 financial statement, NPR makes just over half of its money from the fees and dues it charges member stations to receive programming, although some of this money originated at the CPB itself, in the form of pass-through grants to member stations.[8] About 2% of NPR's funding comes from bidding on government grants and programs, chiefly the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the remainder comes from member station dues, foundation grants, and corporate underwriting. Typically, NPR member stations raise about one-third of their budget through on-air pledge drives, one-third from corporate underwriting, and one-third from grants from state governments, university grants, and grants from the CPB itself.
Over the years, the portion of the total NPR budget that comes from government has been decreasing. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the majority of NPR funding came from the federal government. Steps were being taken during the 1980s to completely wean NPR from government support, but the 1983 funding crisis forced the network to make immediate changes. More money to fund the NPR network was raised from listeners, charitable foundations and corporations, and less from the federal government. (from here )
Hear that, CBC? I mean, I love CBC radio, I think it's one thing we can be proud of as Canadians, but my gut feeling is that only around 20% of Canadians actually think it's fair that it's completely funded by their taxes (number based on an Ipsos gut survey from Nov 30, margin of error 3%, 19 times out of 20). NPR in my view presents a much more democratic model of culture funding, where the people support the things they love with their own cash.

And now, back to Ray. Geoooorgia!

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