Thursday, October 16, 2003

The News is Next: WAMU 88.5-FM, an NPR radio station in Washington, DC, just finished its fall fundraiser. Anybody who listens to NPR on a regular basis knows what I'm talking about. This is where the station DJs stop providing any good content for what seems to be 30 minutes at a time and beg you to send them money.

It's time that the FCC allow community radio stations to start selling advertising. I know that some purists believe that noncommercial stations should stay that way. But running commercials won't degrade a station's content. WAMU already receives corporate sponsorship from the likes of Honda and Nextel. I wouldn't mind listening to one of their commercials, considering the alternative.

This morning, some woman called the station and was whining in a shrill voice about how people who listen to NPR but don't donate any money are "free loaders" and are "stealing".

As someone who has WAMU set on my clock radio and listens to "Morning Edition" every day, she was talking to me.

But I expect my radio broadcasts to be free. I honestly don't have much money to donate. And if I did, I'd find a better cause than NPR -- even though I very much enjoy its coverage of the news.

Commercials are, by their nature, designed to be entertaining enough to capture the audience's attention for 30 seconds at a time. People would enjoy that better than listening to the endless moaning about how a station needs money.

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