WUOT, my local public radio affiliate, ends its Spring Fund Drive today. I’ve heard people complaining on Facebook this week about WUOT’s limited news segments and low-interest programs like Weekend Radio. I, too, would like more news; I often complain about the Saturday rehash of old “Car Talks” (I bet there are people out there who don’t know that CT ended production of brand-new episodes in 2012 or that one of the “Tappet” brothers (Tom Magliozzi) died in 2014). Of course, WUOT-2 provides many of those interesting programs, but there are a lot of listeners who don’t have an HD receiver.
This is why I support public radio. I don’t donate just for my personal benefit. I give because it benefits the many in Tennessee who can’t afford to donate, who don’t own computers or HD radios, who don’t read the best newspapers like the New York Times; but who desperately need SOMETHING that might balance FOX News which now has the largest viewership in the Nation. But perhaps my motive is not totally altruistic; helping my state become better informed absolutely benefits me personally.
I used to have a second home in St. Augustine and there listened to WJCT, the Jacksonville affiliate, which had much better programming than WUOT. But you can’t compare a crab apple to a Honeycrisp. It’s important to remember that the top NPR stations, i.e., the ones with the best programming ( Top Ten NPR Stations), are in the more socioeconomically healthy states (States with the Best Economies). WUOT simply doesn’t get the revenue to fund these programs. I’m grateful we get the NPR programming we do and hope, in these disturbing times, that WUOT can at least maintain.
Who listens to NPR? NPR says, based on Nielsen audience profiles (NPR Listener Profiles), that listeners are more likely to be:
- The Affluent Business Leader
- The Cultured Connoisseur
- The Educated Lifelong Learner
- The Civic Leader
- The Sustainability Champion
- The Curious Explorer
- The Tech Trendsetter
My hope is that my small donation will enable some disadvantaged person, whether it be due to poverty or discrimination, to become one of these NPR listeners. Because I was one of those disadvantaged by poverty—born in a “holler” in SW VA, grew up in a series of rental houses, could not afford college until my late 20s—but due to luck and maybe an innate curiosity widened my horizons and, at some point, discovered NPR. NPR helped me become one of those faithful listeners, the lifelong learner. For that, I am deeply indebted to those NPR donors who gave when I didn’t.