NPR Chief: Commercial Radio Lacks Local Voice
August 25, 2008

Speaking as a lecturer at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory recently, National Public Radio (NPR) President Kevin Klose told the audience that commercial radio lacks authenticity and has lost its local voice.

"What we have seen in the mass media is a consolidation followed by reconsolidation and reconsolidation," said Klose, according to Maine's Mount Desert Islander. "You end up with these hidden conglomerates that own the local voices. Then they do away with those local voices."

He noted that in 1998, NPR’s national audience was estimated at 13 million. By the fall of 2001 it had grown to about 16 million, and in the months after 9/11 it soared to 20 million. "Today it’s almost 30 million," Klose said. He attributed the rise in NPR's popularity to the fact that Americans are searching for impartial and factual information in a sea of opinions and biased news outlets. 
 
"Our growth in audience is because of our standards," Klose said. "NPR is like a refuge from the perfection of our ability to sell things." He added that everything, it seems, in modern society is for sale. "In public radio, nothing is for sale. What we do allows us to touch the human reality in a different way."

He also said that commercial radio's rapid fire style may turn people off because it doesn't allow listeners time to absorb what they are hearing. "It interferes with our ability to take things in," said Klose. "What they do is a mass media assault on who we are."




 
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Brad Dolbeer
PD, KINK/Portland

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