WTF?!? “Throw NPR Music Under the Bus"

Republicans in
Congress prepare to revive their defunding of NPR schtick while the music
industry sits on its hands…

 

By Fred Mills

 

Most of you have probably heard by now that among the federal
funding cuts being proposed by the new Republican House majority is National
Public Radio. No surprise there; NPR has long been presumed by Republicans to
be a left-wing mouthpiece, a notion that goes all the way back (and probably
past) Jesse Helms days, when the “Sonafabitch From North Carolina” (my term; I’m
from NC so I can say it) and his cronies engaged in an all-out war against the
arts, and of course NPR was one of many institutions that fell in their
cross-hairs.

 

Many of you hipsters
out there probably don’t even listen to NPR, of course, as it still
occasionally is stigmatized as being for “grannies in a hot tub,” not to
mention the classic Saturday Night Live sendups of NPR that portrayed its female radio commentators as anesthetized,
quietly murmuring tribbles. But I bet you check out NPR Music, and frequently, what
with its blogs, live concerts, advance full album streams of new music, and
more.

 

In fact, last September we published the results of one of
our BLURT polls, and 27% of respondents indicated that among the options
presented, NPR Music was their primary source for a new music fix.

 

So yesterday industry pundit Wayne Rosso, at his
well-trafficked “Wayne’s
World” blog,
offered a pretty sobering commentary on what we music lovers can
expect – or, more accurately, what we might lose – if the right wing powers
that be get their budget wish. He discusses some of the key offerings at NPR
Music and cites real sales figures that demonstrate its clout at the
marketplace. And then he offers the music industry a challenge:

 

“So now what? Can the music industry
stand by and let one of their most important sales drivers be thrown under the
bus? Do they have the guts to lobby the anti-intellectual politicians to keep
hands off NPR? Will they step up to the plate and support public radio now that
it sells CD’s? Commercial radio doesn’t play these acts, so where would they
get exposure? Are we destined to be condemned to a world of Britney, Justin and
Gaga? Or can the major record labels have it both ways. That is the way they
like it, after all.”

 

It will be interesting, indeed, to see if the industry does demonstrate some
guts beyond putting self-congratulatory, risqué musical spectaculars on
television one night a year. The rest of you, of course, know what to do: write or email your Congressman.

 

Read the “Wayne’s
World” essay here. It’s essential stuff.

 

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