Friday Feedback for May 9, 2014
Listener Nick wrote in our recent Survey:
I listen, so I feel obligated to pay. I enjoy most of Midday cafe and a number of the other shows. I am not impressed with NPR news. They lack objectivity and integrity when reporting on the Middle East. Their pro-Israel bias is very obvious. With respect to Ukraine, no one at NPR is discussing Khrushchev's giving Crimea to the Ukraine.
Listener Derek wrote:
I would love to hear the second hour of Science Friday.
Listener Burt wrote:
Your evening (after 9) signal has been weakening so the programs are static-y and hard to hear while other stations are quite loud.
I don’t have a definitive answer for Burt. There’s nothing we know of that would cause the signal to drop consistently only in the evenings. Changeable spring weather does sometimes cause fluctuations in reception, especially for distant listeners.
Last week I read a comment from a listener objecting to our use of HQR on the air instead of WHQR. I received similar messages from a couple of other listeners. I’ll try to be brief in my explanations. Listener Jenne wrote:
Whether a station has a K or a W in the front has everything to do with whether they are east or west of the Ole Miss, and are issued by the FCC. One cannot just change or select a call-sign at whim.
I wrote back to Jenne, in part: it's not correct that all K stations are west of the Mississippi and W stations east. KDKA in Pittsburgh, for example, is a famous counter-example. But the legal call sign is not at issue here.
You may know that we have announced a second FM station this year. Legally, only 91.3, and not the new station, can be WHQR. The FCC requires the call letters and city of license for full-power stations like 91.3 to be broadcast once per hour, near the top of the hour. Otherwise stations may identify themselves as they see fit. In order to continue the concept of High Quality Radio we intend to use "HQR", not as a required hourly legal ID, to identify both stations in the future. Listeners already often refer to us that way.
Jenne wrote back:
High Quality Radio...I like that… I had not heard that you are committed to a second FM station this year… so, that seems to be the piece I was missing. Good luck! And - Thanks!
Listening to your news program right now. Time is 9:07 pm, the date is the 7th of May. You may have heard lots of sirens: people having heart attacks ‘cause the guy said the Dow closed down 117 today. It was actually up 117. Kinda important.
[NOTE: from the time specified, the caller is referring to an NPR news story, not a local one.]
Listener Leslie wrote:
You are… "violating" public radio's non-advertising agenda with sponsors that sound like ads, and appear to be cutting news stories to do so. While I understand that the money is needed and give what I can at pledge drives, can't the acknowledgement just be "WHQR is supported by [business X]"? Thank you for all you bring to our community.
I wrote to Leslie:
FCC regulations permit identification of a business supporter, description of principal goods and services including brand names, location, phone numbers, websites and a number of other informational items. They do not allow pricing information, calls to action, or promotional or comparative language. We believe that all the underwriting messages we have fit those guidelines. Also, we have not cut back on news stories [but we have] cut back somewhat on promotional messages for upcoming radio programs.
Leslie wrote back:
Thanks so much for the information. WHQR is a wonderful station.