Group wants WGBH's radio license pulled for ditching music

Bill Marx pledges his support for an FCC effort by the Committee for Community Access to get 'GBH's radio license pulled over the way it dumped jazz and other musical programming when it decided to try to bust WBUR's near monopoly on the giant local market for NPR news and information:

Has the duplication of reporting muscle brought about a cornucopia of investigative reporting from WGBH or WBUR? Granted, WGBH gabbers Jim Braude and Margery Eagan get to feel important chatting with our governor and the editor of the Boston Globe every week, but does that cud-chewing, along with other ultra-admiring sessions with other corporate types, select mainstream ‘celebrities,’ and interviews with authors doing the rounds serve the public interest? Can’t all these ‘newsmakers’ be heard elsewhere down the dial hawking their wares, which can also easily be found on the internet? For those who believe the decimation of WGBH’s music programming was a cultural crime, that more of the same is the same old guff, let your discontent be heard in the halls of the FCC.

Ed. note: Actually, yes, competition has meant more original radio - and online - reporting from both WGBH and WBUR. Marx might try listening to shows other than Jim and Margery's Mid-Day Gabfest or look at WBUR and WGBH News online.

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    Go After WBOS First

    I know that they are not community radio, but any station playing Third Eye Blind 8 times a day could not do any worse by playing Peter, Paul, & Mary or The Folksmen or whatever fossil audio that this person is looking for in terrestrial radio.

    Better yet, I think Jim and Margery serve the community interest of this area a lot better than Tom Ashbrook talking about the situation in East Northwest Kerplakistan, as somehow his talk can solve that "problem" which has nothing to do with Greater Boston.

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    Is this a tautology?

    Tom Ashbrook is a blowhard. I still listen to his show at times, but there's more than a little Ron Burgundy to him.

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    To each his own

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    but I think Tom Ashbrook is the most compelling host on public radio.

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    At a time when the internet

    At a time when the internet has provided multiple platforms for accessing what used to be called radio, the importance of radio stations, particularly public radio stations, having an audience is mission one. Certainly the mission of public radio is not just gaining the most listeners, but sharing and broadening culture.

    One can argue that GBH radio had become increasingly stagnant essentially offering much of the same programming decade in, and decade out. I understand that Mr. Marx and other fans of the old music format feel a loss. Yet the fact is that jazz and classical music broadcasts have been loosing audience for many years now. GBH's music supporters are literally dying out, while GBH's potential audience do not have enough of an interest to listen to Eric in the Evening or the classical music programming - they are, so to speak, voting with their feet.

    More importantly as private radio (and television) have given up the ghost of providing the news necessary to inform citizens in a democracy, public radio needs to step into the void. I can access classical music easily on the internet (GBH has a great classical music streaming service - which I listen to at work), but it's a small niche in today's culture, not worth the powerful signal that 89.7 has.

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    Where is the 'local' in local public television?

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    In a world where newspapers no longer command the civic conversation the way they once did... where are the local voices on WGBH TV? Anyone can learn more about Greater Boston by watching WCVB TV's Chronicle than by watching recycled British sit coms on donor funded "local" public television.

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    Voting with their checks

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    Here's the dirty little secret about that "dying" audience of serious music lovers: They write checks. Whereas that hip, want-to-be-informed-by-the-BBC and a state information service, audience knows they can get a lot more news and informed commentary online, the old classical/Jazz/other listeners were socialized fifty years ago that the music that they loved depended on their personal support. Boston Music Intelligencer has reported that the out of town station with the puny signal where 'GBH exiled the music programing gets more contributions

    More nonsense from self appointed

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    arbiters of the public airwaves. There is more than enough free music available streaming online. However there is not enough NPR in the world to battle the onslaught of right wing talk radio, a medium that fully understands what made Goebbels a genius.

    You don't like what WGBH is playing, find another station. Like UMB for folk. Get the TuneIn radio app and you have a whole world of stations! Though judging by the Word template webpage these idiots set up, I have a feeling most of them are still on dial-up.

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    No folk at UMB any more

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    Except for a very few (and getting fewer all the time) programs on the weekend, WUMB no longer plays folk music, nor does it claim to. And none of the remaining weekend programs play "mainstream" folk music, just things like Celtic music. A great loss for a metro area that once claimed to be a major center -- if not the major center -- of American folk music.

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    It's more than just finding

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    an internet radio station. Local radio is also about community and music, something that you don't get by listening to an internet radio station (and I listen to a bunch). Showcasing local talent, informing people about upcoming events, having guests playing live -- that's all about community based radio, something that WGBH abandoned when they dropped nightly jazz. Kudos to Jack Bernstein, who has been plugging away on this effort for more than a year.

    I'm not exactly an outsider on this issue

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    my own father had his jazz program cut years ago from WHRB. And your comment that internet radio is not about community and music is ludicrous. Internet radio is sometimes just one guy in his own house, how much more community oriented can you get? And since when does a small group of holdovers feel they have the right to dictate what a radio station plays and what it doesn't?

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    It's also about music education.

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    I used to listen to 'GBH, morning to night, and made significant annual donations. Not any more, not since they decimated the music program and began regurgitating what they had on TV (Emily Rooney) and directly competing with BUR's talk format. If I wanted news or talk, I went to 'BUR, another station I supported and still do. It's not only about the musical notes you listen to, it's also about music education. I learned much of what I know about classical and jazz music from listening to the announcers and programmers. Sometimes, the more you understand, the more you can appreciate something.

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    There's music! Just late at night/weekend

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    More often than not, I catch the jazz that plays later in the evening on WGBH, and errands on the weekend tend to fall during a Celtic Sojourn. Sooo...there is still music played on that station.

    Not only that, but there is a jazz stream on the WGBH website, so you can listen to that if you are near a computer.

    I think the splitting of stations to be music-oriented/news-oriented is a trend - up in Vermont there are now two different VPR stations, one that plays more classical music and one that is more like WBUR/WGBH, and I think it's been pretty well accepted.

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    Jim And Margery's Mixed Bag

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    I've been a fan of public radio since Susan Stamberg was a little girl. The increased competition between WBUR and WGBH has generally been a good thing. Occasionally a local story will receive substantial coverage on either of them, but neither station is a comprehensive source for local news and information.

    Many NPR programs are duplicated on both stations, sometimes at exactly the same time. This is convenient during pledge drives because the stations don't always do pledge breaks at the same time. Also, many other NPR (and PRI) programs aren't duplicated; on weekends in particular, there is added variety between the two stations.

    The afternoon "Boston Public Radio" program featuring Margery Egan and James Braude is a mixed bag. As a team, I think they work quite well together, and they also sound very pleasant together! Margery tends to be a little wackier, and Jim seems to calm her down a little bit. Sometimes they'll go off on a useless "click bait" type of topic based on the latest "shocking headline", while leaving out key details from the story that explain and/or rationalize what actually happened. (oh, and when Andy Rooney's daughter wanders into the studio with them, forget it!)

    However, the show regularly features important local guests; the governor, mayor, MBTA and other government agency managers, elected officials at all levels, and all candidates seeking office. The interviews are cordial and don't throw a lot of hardballs, but no obvious question goes unasked. Because the show is live radio, often the public can call in with questions and concerns.

    So, overall, I give them high marks for providing a way for people who (or want to) run the government to speak directly with the community. I don't know of any other media outlet that does that as extensively or as consistently as WGBH.

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    WBUR & WGBH

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    I LIKE the talk because of the locality of guests.. I like it more than music. I don't own a car (and haven't in a very long time) but when I borrow the roommates (or rent one) and I don't have an ipod with me, it's WBUR or WGBH Radio for me. (kiss 108 can suck it)

    I know I will floor many people on here by that comment. But I like NPR. It's great, its thought provoking, informational, and a lot less fluff. Sure I can do without the bleeding stuff, but overall, its my radio of choice. If I want music, I turn it to some other station. And if WGBH reverts back to music I will solely listen to WBUR full time.

    I honestly think this whole lawsuit/silliness is just a bunch of old farts who are sad to see a changing time in radio, and are just fighting it tooth in nail. I'm sure its the same people who cry fowl when Verizon wants to start removing copper from homes and force everyone to FIOS. Or the same people who still have a Motorola StarTac flip phone from 1998 because they are still in their 29/mo NYNEX Mobility Service cell phone contract.

    people are just resistant to change.

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    I never said..

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    I never said old people don't use the internet or facebook. I just said old farts typically won't adapt to new technologies. I hate to tell ya, the internet and webpages has been around for at least 20 years now, it's no longer a 'new technology".

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    Do you need to be so

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    snarky and denigrating? Facebook is a newer phenomenon, and it is being used by lots of older people.

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    Ask any teenager and on,

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    Ask any teenager and on, Facebook is ONLY being used by "old" people. With the late teens/early 20 somethings in my circle - few are using facebook unless to check on someone or something. I think there's a lot of disabled profiles (you can never delete them I am told).
    I am not into Facebook, seems silly to me but it sure can be a great (free!) marketing/pr tool.

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    Air ware is going the way of tree ware.

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    But for different reasons.

    Back when music knowledge was a ratified thing that took effort, there was a place for a cognoscenti class to tell the sheep what was what.

    But it was all doomed when web2.0 showed up. You Tube really killed it. I can sit around and 'request' Tickle Toe by Count Basie or I can click on a You tube.

    And in so many cases there are video clips of the people. Wanna see Hamilton Camp play 'Here's to You' or John Hovorka do Wha Hey! with the Turbines..
    It's there.

    At a mouse click.. Any time I want.

    I can also carry the Library of Congress for music around in my pocket.

    I was one a them cognoscenti things and spent several years flogging jazz and other noise on several college radio stations here, in the 80s. It was a ball.

    But really. See buggy whips.

    We'll be needing that bandwidth soon enough and NPR is pretty worthless too. Pacifica has legs but is despised and harried.

    Jim loves Jim

    and Madge hates teachers and ex-husbands. Oh and Jim loves Jim. Emily Rooney is a beautiful person but I don't think she loves Jim as much as Jim loves Jim.

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    As long as I can still tune

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    As long as I can still tune into WMUA's polka Saturday I'm fine with hearing less music and more news from WGBH. It's nice to be able to switch over whenever Tom Ashbrook's show comes on. I can't stand his style and I also can't stand that when you have all of these great guests on to waste air time on Joe Schmoe calling in. Nothing against Joe Shmoe, there are sometimes great questions from listeners --- but they are far and away outliers.

    Do You Think Polka Is The Most Beautiful Music In The World? ...

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    ... That Polka is the next big thing that should be taught in schools and sung by school choirs?
    ... OR ...
    Do you think Polka is the worst music ever created? That Polka music should be banned in schools, and any students caught smuggling in accordions should be expelled?

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    Somewhere...

    ... in between the two extremes.

    I will note that the polka is the only dance I could ever even approximate doing. A third grade classmate was adamant about teaching me this, kind of embarrassing -- one didn't want to be caught by classmates while getting dance lessons....

    Who needs music

    when I can hear another NPR story on the Afghani sheep farmer losing his pet goat to an american made suv on poorly constructed mountain roadways.

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    Heh

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    People still think that Nice Polite Republicans is a bastion of the loony liberal left? Guess old stereotypes die hard, especially for those who have a vested interest in keeping them in place.

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    The only thing I

    have a vested interest in keeping in place is my Yo Yo Ma autographed tote bag I got for donating to Public Radio. That and the free iTunes download of the NPR story of the Afghan sheep farmer that lost his pet goat to a US made suv on a poorly constructed mountain highway.

    I still miss Simon Geller

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    Nothing more hyper-local (no such term then, however) than when classical music was broadcast from Gloucester on WVCA-FM, the one-man station run by Simon Geller out of his basement. I still miss him.

    Look him up.

    Running news and talk, WGBH

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    Running news and talk, WGBH is getting its highest ratings ever. Why would they want to change?
    Yeah it would be nice to get jazz, blues, folk etc on a more powerful station but radio is a business...
    even "non-commercial" radio. WGBH figured its donors and listeners wanted more news and talk.
    And while it is "public" radio and it may be funded in part by "listeners like you", it's owned by the WGBH Educational Foundation who can do with it what they please.

    Further, the FCC does not step in regarding format matters. It's freedom of speech and freedom of the
    press. Don't like it, start your own station...