Friday, March 07, 2008

NPR, Ken Stern, and the local stations

I was going to write a short blog post about why I no longer contribute to KQED (the local bay area NPR station) and why Ken Stern is right and the board who threw him out was wrong... but then Jeff Jarvis does such a good job:
Well guess, what, local yokels, hate to tell you this but… You’re screwed! You bet the internet is going to hurt you.
So, not today. Maybe not this year. But really soon now people in the economic bracket that traditionally has supported local public radio will all have the ability to get exactly the programming they want, when they want it, where they want it. And it will be integrated into our cars along with the traffic that is already there on the GPS.

Sure, it will actually probably take 5 years until the "tipping point" -- but why should any of us be supporting radio tower infrastructure? I want to directly support the programming, not the distribution mechanism.

NPR wake up or you will just be replaced by the creative destruction of the Internet.


Dan Brekke said...

Jarvis also says this in that post:

"Unless you add valuable local content and service to the mix, you might as well tear down the tower now."

And you say you've stopped giving to KQED -- why exactly? Because you don't want to pay for the infrastructure?

Let me break it to you gently: Your contributions also go to support the "valuable local content and service" that KQED provides. Or maybe you don't believe it's valuable, which is another question altogether. If you've got programming ideas, though, and have some creative ideas about how to finance them, I can tell you from personal experience that KQED would probably be happy to hear from you.

Ted said...

Dan - I agree that if I donate to KQED that some of the money I contribute goes to Kraz to support the great program, Forum (of which I can only ever stand to listen to the first half hour -- before people start to call in). I am more interested in supporting Fresh Air, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, On The Media... you get my drift.

But sticking just to the point of local programming -- what percentage of your donation goes to local programming (much less specific shows like Forum)?

Nothing online on KQED addressing that subject, although you can request a copy of their annual report via US Postal service (ugh).

According to Media Alliance, less than 50 percent of KQED's budget is spent on programming.