Jul 25, 2012

OPB Radio overhauls schedule; drops six shows, adds seven

Oregon Public Broadcasting is making major changes to its broadcast radio lineup as of Aug. 6, reports The Oregonian.

"All the long-form music programs are going away from OPB radio," John Bell, director of member communications for OPB, told the newspaper. Gone are The Thistle and Shamrock, the Celtic music show the station has carried since the 1980s; the local In House and American Routes are moving to and HD radio.

The variety show eTown is canceled, as are the comedy program Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know? and Garrison Keillor's daily literary short, The Writer's Almanac.

"There's not any program that's not popular with some audience," Bell said. "There just are so many other shows, and we've found with shows like Radio Lab and The Moth, there's a wealth of great programs out there that we think deserve a spot on the radio. As our audience has changed, we've found that they're coming to us more for news and information than music. There's just so many hours in a day."

Among seven new shows coming to OPB Radio: America's Test Kitchen, Moyers & Company, the Ask Me Another quiz show and Back Fence PDX, what Bell describes as a local version of The Moth storytelling hour.

Also, OPB Radio will continue airing Car Talk after its hosts retire in October. "It's still the most-popular show we have," Bell said. "We're going to leave it on the schedule and evaluate what happens, whether we think the quality suffers or we hear from people that they're tired of the show and want something new."

Blumenauer hits back at Rubio for pubcasting funding comments

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is defending federal support of public broadcasting in a column on the Huffington Post. Blumenauer mainly addresses The Diane Rehm Show appearance of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) last week, during which Rubio — on a talk show on NPR — spoke about how NPR should be defunded.

Rubio told Rehm that "plenty of other commercial outlets" would run her show. "I beg to differ," Blumenauer writes. "If there were a strong market in commercial radio for programs like The Diane Rehm Show, wouldn't we see them all over the country? We don't see them because commercial demand does not exist. That's why NPR and its member stations remain the sole source of this type of content. More troubling, this attitude shows a fundamental inability to understand that commercializing PBS programming would drastically change its essential nature. Why turn the nation's best forum for sustained public discourse into a carbon copy of all the other programming? People turn to public broadcasting because they already have 500 channels with nothing to watch."