What would you do with WHYY's program schedule if you could be a public radio czar?

What do Liberals love more than NPR? I still remember when I first discovered All Things Considered. I was in High School. My mom and I decided we were sort of over our Country Music phase and we decided to try some Classical Music. In our hometown, that meant KRPS, which also happened to carry the news from NPR. It blew my mind. I fell in love. I had so many driveway moments as I parked at my high school that it was guaranteed that I would be a listener for life.

As many of you who know me personally know, I've lived in many parts of the country. One of the first things I do any time I move is start exploring the radio dial. I like to have two or three stations I like (ideally, give me a good Classical station, an all talk NPR affiliate, some sort of Real Rock Radio station, some indy rock heavy college station and an edgy/alternative/hard rock station -- and I'm good). So, after living lots of places, I've found a lot of public radio shows I really like.

Now, the advent of podcasts has made the program schedule of local NPR stations less relevant, but... a lot of times I'm in a car and I don't have any option for talk but NPR. And I am often annoyed by WHYY's program schedule.

It's pledge time at WHYY right now, and, like many large public radio stations, it's "public" in that we give it money, but it doesn't really seem like there are a ton of opportunities for member input in what the program schedule looks like.

So, we've got the Internet and I bet there are a lot of WHYY listeners on here.
What would you change about WHYY's program schedule? You can see the full schedule here.

Here are some ideas I have. Some of these are definitely going to tick people off, but you've got a chance to share your ideas too. Have at it! Okay, here goes:

One assumption I'm making is that I don't really have any money to start new shows, that's why I'm not proposing a, for example, Media Mobilizing Project hour or anything. I'm also assuming that all shows cost the same to air (and I'm sure this is totally untrue).

1) Fresh Air once per day. Terri Gross is the most cringe-worthy voice on radio and any time she talks about crime or Philadelphia I blush in shame for her. I'm not sure she's actually been to our city. I think she flies in from Ithaca secretly. Anyway... I understand she's our most successful public radio export, so we have to air her locally. And sometimes it's good. But really? Twice a day?

2) Radio Times - ditto to #1 Sorry.

3) Eliminate embarrassing yuppie shows that make me hate America: Le Show, The Splendid Table, You Bet Your Garden. If I can only pick one, make it Le Show. I appreciate that some people really like Cooking and Gardening... so my czarness may be a little non-inclusive here. But Harry Shearer is even more cringe-worthy than Terri Gross. Gross had that AWESOME Gene Simmons interview, after all. Le Show is never, ever good. Stick with The Simpsons, buddy.

...at least we aren't airing Calling All Pets here. God...

4) Replace them with To The Best of Our Knowledge (a This American Life Knock-Off from Madison - it's almost as good as the original and often outstanding), Michael Feldman's Whad'ya Know? and basically anything the people at Marketplace want to do. There's nothing bad that comes out of the Frank Stanton Studios.

5) I was going to say "Play Studio 360 twice" but it turns out they do. Good one, WHYY!

6) Add The Moth Radio Hour, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz and Radiolab.

7) Get rid of The World for some sort of international news show that doesn't sound like the hosts are going to break out in a chorus of Kum-By-Yah at any moment. Dear God. Patchouli must be mandatory in that studio.

7) Discussions I would open committees to talk about.

  • BBC Newshour - Don't we think this will turn our kids to communists?
  • Too many call-in shows during the daytime. We can come up with something better than this, right? Call-in shows are lazy, lazy radio.
  • We should probably air Prime Ministers Questions somewhere in here, right? I mean, that stuff is funny. Oh, Brits...
  • Sound Opinions: keep or pitch? - I understand it's the only talk show about music but can we call someone and ask for some less insufferable hosts?
  • Tell Me More. I can't stand this show, but if it's got a following we can talk. It's never ever interesting to me, tho.
  • How can the WHYY news stories on the WHYY website become much easier to fine - rather than kinda buried - since news is what WHYY does best

So that's what I would do, for what it's worth. What would you do?

I'd put Amy Goodman on, Keith Olbermann and

a different worker every day. Just find ordinary trash haulers, and cops and firefighters and social workers, nurses, teachers and burger flippers, and let them talk about what it's like to do what they do. And to keep a roof over their heads and their heads above water. Because workers in general, and public workers in particular, are treated by the mainstream media as being pretty much invisible at best, and lazy leaches at worst. Until we need them to speed us to the hospital when our worlds blow up, and then we appreciate them for about 5 minutes. Enough with the captains of industry and commerce. They'd be nothing without someone to keep their lights on, take away their trash, deliver gas to their gas station, and pick their cotton and lettuce. Let workers have their say.


D'accord to Amy Goodman. I would really like a program like NJ's Reporters Roundtable...have seen a similar program for Nevada. Particularly in large state like PA which has so many media markets. Half an hour once a week with political talk about Pittsburgh, Scranton, etc.
My gripe is the salary of the CEO. $500,000. Won't contribute until that is changed. I tell them so about once a year but they don't seem to listen

I'd love to have To the Best of our Knowledge

isn't there a word game show too? I think I heard it once in the DC area -- something like My Word. when did HYY drop Michael Feldman?!?

would be interesting to have a community radio segment, even if they aired them in the middle of the night...


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead


It's worth keeping in mind that some of these choices are financial. For example, a station pays X thousand dollars to run a particular program weekly, plus maybe X/4 to run it a second time in the same week. Programs like Terri Gross and Marti Moss-Cowain are home grown, so they probably don't pay anything to run them again. There's no way that they could afford unique programming in every slot or to take on a huge stable of new programs all at once without a big increase in funds.


Definitely true

It's fun to think about, though.

And the two runs for FRESH AIR don't HAVE to be at two super popular time slots, either.

This Too Will Pass, adventures by the season.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Syndicate content