Public Radio Pirate

KRTU, Trinity University, Public Radio

KRTU is a college radio station that plays Jazz at least fourteen hours a day. They do a good job. They cover all eras of jazz with never a Kenny G song to be heard. They are a college run, public radio station, but not a member of NPR. This means listeners don’t have to put up with NPR bullshit. On the other hand listeners do have to abide the twice yearly fund raisers.

I am proud to say that I have been a listener for almost twenty years and never once have I donated. In fact, the impulse to join has never occurred to me. I guess that makes me a public radio pirate.

I can’t think of a more dishonest, elitist, and discriminatory way of raising money. The whole concept screams us against them. The great unwashed listen to country, top forty and heavy metal on (shudder) “commercial radio.” People of discernment, disposable income and artsy pretensions contribute to “public radio.”

Commercial radio lives and dies on supplying a product that the fan base wants. Fans listen, advertisers buy ads to attract the attention of the fans. Some of those fans respond to the ads. The advertisers decide if the response is adequate. If it is more ads follow. The free market dictates success and failure.

With public radio, listener input is not important. They will take what they are given. Don’t believe me, listen to the crap that goes out on NPR. Big lie number one is public radio says they don’t accept advertisement. Instead they have sponsors.

Best I can tell advertisers buy a block of time. The advertiser and station then work to create ad content that will appeal to listeners. This is a cooperative effort. Sponsors of public radio pay for the privilege of having their name mentioned on the radio. This isn’t an ad because the sponsor has no input as to the message content and schedule. I guess that makes the radio station all knowing as to what’s best.

Seems like there is a political model for that type of behavior. It was popularized in 1930’s Germany.

It isn’t enough to “sponsor”. During the fund raiser the station is selling memberships. Not only memberships but memberships on a sliding scale. Establishing membership is based on merit. The determining factor is financial wherewithal. Yup, for a dollar a week we’ll give you a cheesy coffee mug. For a hundred bucks a week, they’ll provide a slightly used virgin of your choice.”

They assure you that your donation is tax deductible. As a member you will be the envy of your friends. Always remember those pitches for coffee shops, restaurants and bars are not advertisements. No, they are sponsorship. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a “host” not disc jockey use the term: “And now a word from our sponsor…”

If nothing else KTRU just got my two cents.