Sunday, December 14, 2008

NPR Got It Wrong

Last week I read the heartbreaking news that two (and one of my favorite) NPR shows has been cancelled. The two shows were Day to Day and News and Notes (a fave). NPR's reasoning was due to the crummy economy and like many of their Media counterparts, they had to do some layoffs.

I get the reasoning. Trust me, I get when you have to make major cutbacks; I can read a company's financial statements like no one's business. But what I don't get is that the two shows cut were based in the west coast and save, for "Tell Me More" (another fave) have great diversity programming from all the other NPR shows.

I've been a fan of N&N since college; when it was "The Tavis Smiley Show." To me, it brought some flavor to sometimes NPR's stale delivery - I'm just saying. I love NPR for the most part, but there are some shows I felt I'd rather go to the dentist chair to listen to his drill than another moment hearing the host's voice. I just couldn't relate and it wasn't because of my age then (I still don't like those shows).

Day to Day had financial information from Michelle Singletary (did I mention she's black) when most financial information were given by boring old white guys who've spent too much time on Wall Street but didn't know how to break the Wall Street lingo to folks on Main Street. Singletary brought that to Day to Day; common sense approach to money like "Big Momma" taught her.

Also, Brian Unger brought his humorist take on all things political and pop-culture. It made you take a second look on what our public figures were selling us. Day to Day was able to accomplish all these while tackling the serious news. But now, (come March 20th) that will be gone!

While I had to listen to Day to Day on Mondays and Tuesdays; it was a five-day event for News & Notes. This was the show from an African-American perspective. And can I just say, in the mostly vanilla world of NPR, it was nice to have some chocolate five days a week. The show had think-tanks of color from the world of politics, business, and the media; something rare in the world of television. Also, just because I'm an African-American, it didn't mean I agreed with everything the show broadcasted. I happen to be a friend of the show, and a few times I've used my keystrokes to great use to ask "what was that all about?" (What's up Farai and GB!)

But that was the great thing about N&N, it was interactive with its listeners/bloggers. A few months ago when I got too busy with my personal life to give my "piece," I was called out on the website by a producer (GB) to ask where in the world I was. I never expected the "shout out" but at least it showed they paid attention than most media outlets who operate in a vacuum.

So NPR I'm asking you to take a second look. It is appalling in a multi-racial and multi-ethnic America, only one show (Tell Me More) in your lineup after March 20th will truly reflect the great diversity of our society.

Tags: NPR, NPR Cuts Two Shows, News & Notes, Day to Day