Listener Margee Herring wrote: "As you consider programming to fill aging programs (enough with Car Talk!), or retired programs (Prairie Home) or repetitive programming … , please give thought to introducing a less-than-accessible perspective. Several years ago, NPR conducted its own "voice audit" and recognized that its voices-of-color were frequently less than ethnic-sounding, and thus, began its code-switch programming in earnest. As communities re-consider our country's progress, or lack thereof, in race relations, an authentic and accessible black perspective would valuable. Tavis Smiley comes to mind, but surely there are others to consider.
I thanked Margee for her comment. It’s certainly worth investigation. I'm familiar with Tavis Smiley's show. I also told her that she may be interested to know that NPR has announced that next year will be the last for Car Talk. It will run as a “Best Of” show through September 2017. Producer Doug Berman wrote to stations yesterday:
While listening is still huge by any measure (today, Car Talk still has more than 2.6 million listeners a week) we are starting to see some slippage in listenership. We recognize that while Car Talk has been an enormous part of public radio’s past and present, it is not public radio’s future. It’s a historically important program, but it's destined to become a nostalgic pleasure, even if a great one… We are eager to not overstay our welcome with our audience or our stations.
Tom and his brother came to public radio when it was stiff and academic and formal, and largely irrelevant to most Americans. And by being entirely and unselfconsciously themselves, they broke our medium open for real voices and real people, who turned out to be much more interesting, informative, and entertaining than the canned people we thought our listeners wanted. All of us who have created programming in Tom and Ray’s wake owe both of them a deep debt of gratitude.
Listener Eileen Kapetsky wrote:
PLEASE could you tone down the music being played while someone is speaking. Your 5-6:00 segment is especially bad, making it very difficult to hear the Cultural Calendar, for example. I notice that when the Underwriters spiels are given that the music is not drowning out the speaker. I appreciate the opportunity to make a comment, thank you.
I wrote to Eileen that since completing installation of our new AudioVault control software, we have been looking through our operations to see if we can correct some of these problems in the older system. This will help us identify a problem.
Here are some more comments that came in during our recent Stealth Drive:
Listener Jonathan wrote:
Thanks! love Invisibilia Car Talk PHC Radio Lab All songs considered. My one neg. comment is the theme song for Coastline is terrible. It makes me think of a Sci-fi movie..lol.
Thanks for continuing to provide mix of national NPR (Diane Rehm News Fresh Air Science Friday) local NC (Coastline State of Things) evening music. Usually skip Here and Now - too much fluff.
We just moved to NC and are ecstatic to find a quality public radio station.
Hands down the best news source available. Thank you!