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Monday, May 10, 2021
NPR celebrated its 50th year anniversary last week
In 1971 I was finishing up my junior year at American University and couldn't help but notice what was being built on campus. The old small radio tower that had been used by WAMU was being replaced by a much bigger radio tower. WAMU moved from being a student-run campus radio station and became the Washington DC station for the newly created National Public Radio Network. With its presence in the nation's capital, it hosted many of the early public policy shows. The Diane Rehm show is the longest-running one. With many elected officials and celebrities brought to the campus to appear on one of the station's shows, often the individuals were available to appear at student sessions on campus. I remember being able to listen to Charlton Heston talk for 2 hours on his movie life at one student session. His storytelling of behind the scenes of filming Ben Hur was memorable.
For many years of traveling it was always important to find the local NPR station to tune to so that you could listen to your favorite shows. Fortunately, the NPR network station was by design almost always found at the beginning of the FM dial. Somehow being away from home and being able to listen to NPR shows was like bringing your home with you. Now I can Bluetooth NPR on the TuneIn app on my phone so I no longer have to search for a radio station.
We now have a number of ways of listening to the news or current event shows on many different platforms. The range of podcasts on any topic has made me a less frequent listener but the NPR shows like Fresh Air, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, All Things Considered, and Morning Edition are old friends that still draw me in. I am afraid that both NPR and PBS may struggle in the future with the Baby Boomer generation aging and dying. We are the generation that still is the strongest supporter of both of these institutions. If you don't believe me just listen to the music shows when PBS does its pledge weeks. Times have changed with both as we now have to listen to corporate sponsors of our public shows. That sponsorship has been necessary as public dollars have been reduced and Republicans try to kill off both institutions.
If NPR is 50 years old I must no longer be a kid. Time passes too quick.
Posted by duanestclair at 4:15 PM