09 March 2011

Another 90 seconds closer to midnight

This will be a day that will be long remembered.  To riff on the rest of Darth Vader's famous line near the climax of Star Wars: A New Hope, it has seen the end of collective bargaining in Wisconsin, and it will soon see the end of National Public Radio.

When I woke up today to the news that NPR has forced out its CEO, Vivian Schiller, I was furious.  Yet another institution had collapsed under the least pressure from con man James O'Keefe and his teabagger allies.  The timing of this latest Obama Administration capitulation was especially galling:  it took place right in the middle of a pledge drive.  Needless to say, a lot fewer progressives feel like staying on this sinking ship.  [It doesn't matter whether I care to pledge anymore.  I don't have the spare money to pledge.]

And that's going to suck.  Away from larger cities, the listening choices on ordinary radios are limited to lousy country-music stations, lousy pop-music stations, right-wing talk-radio stations1... and the local NPR station.  What's going to happen to public-radio stations in places like Jonesboro, Arkansas, or Elko, Nevada, once the funding stops from (a) the Federal government and (b) frustrated progressives who've decided to quit NPR?  KASU in Jonesboro might do okay, as might its sisters in other college towns.  But what about KNCC in Elko?  Will the University of Nevada still be able to maintain a signal 400 kilometers from its Reno campus?

I'm sure the Dominionists running the GOP would love to see public radio banished from as much of rural America as possible.  What are rural listeners who don't care for right-wing-dominated radio supposed to do?  Subscribe to satellite radio?  Rely on broadband Internet connections?  Move to larger towns where public radio has survived?  Are those even options for cash-strapped small-town residents?

Maybe Darth Vader had the right idea.  Then again, he did utter that famous line shortly before the Death Star blew up.  There's always that two-meter-wide conduit of hope.

1.  No need to precede "right-wing talk-radio" with "lousy."  That would be redundant.

1 comment:

dguzman said...

Even Luke Skywalker couldn't hit that conduit. It's shrinking even as we speak.