Friday Feedback

A station underwriter, who shall remain nameless, sent us this: "…regarding the underwriting, it’s funny. We had to hire a marketing firm to help us and the first thing they did was cancel the agreement I had with Kate [Brandis] -saying it was a waste of money. So when Kate called me back and told me that, I of course instantly reinstated our agreement. (I think of everyone there as my friends for one and two I knew it was the audience I was after). Anyway, to make the story short, we get a LOT of calls from WHQR listeners, and I love pointing that out to [the marketeer]!"

Listener Beverly wrote on Monday: "Cokie Roberts is just the latest NPR commentator offending my husband and me. We listen to NPR for news. We do not listen for an individual commentator's personal assessment.
“To be biased without even realizing it...for example, in asking a leading question...is sometimes understandable. Cokie makes no excuses for imposing her opinions. Whatever happened to journalistic principles? Is she not a journalist? She seems to be a lifelong politician which is contrary to the Jeffersonian principle of public service by citizens across the board as citizen duty...not public/political careers.

Abby Saunders of Hampstead wrote: "After hearing Isabelle Shepherd's story on Trump's rally in Wilmington [last week], I feel compelled to share my disappointment with the use of the adjective "lighthearted" to describe Governor McCrory's inappropriate joke about bathrooms during his speech. Certainly, all who are negatively impacted by HB2, as well as all who are in marked disagreement with a bill that violates human rights, would disagree that a joke referencing the bill is cheerful or happy-go-lucky. Thank you for your time.”

We received some calls and messages on Monday when listeners heard Donald Trump’s full speech to the Detroit Economic Club on our air. Some pointed out that there were some odd moments, such as when our local announcement aired right on top of NPR. Some wondered why we decided to pre-empt Here and Now to carry it. In both cases, at the beginning of the day, we were not aware that NPR intended to preempt the entire noon hour (and beyond) of Here and Now to carry the speech. A communications snafu caused us to miss some of the normally scheduled program cues.

Well, it must be karma. Just as in the last couple of weeks we have been celebrating out new AudioVault control software, another problem reared its head. A couple of weeks ago we started noticing and receiving reports of poor performance on our Classical HQR signal (92.7 in Wilmington, 102.3 in Myrtle Beach). People heard distortion in loud music and overall weak signal resulting from our attempting to solve the problem by lowering the music volume. For example, Joanne Purnell wrote: "Makes me sad not to be able to listen to my classical music in the car.

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.

Thanks to the 549 generous donors who made our Stealth Campaign such a success. Together we were able to end the drive several days early, and over the goal. The final tally was $73,615, and contributions are still coming in over the transom, so to speak. What did you think of the drive? Here are some comments we’ve received. Paul Reinmann wrote:

As I predicted last week, we were at last able to get our new AudioVault computer automation system up and running – with thanks to a lot of people here, but especially consulting engineer Jobie Sprinkle of Charlotte, assisted by George Scheibner, Lan Nichols and others. The irony of systems like this is that ordinarily, listeners are aware of them only when they misbehave, as the old system did recently in a massive way. But the new system will give us extra capabilities for producing and distributing content in new ways, and provide extra backups in case of failure.

I’ll get to listener comments in a moment, but first this: after returning this week from vacation, I’m happy to report that there are strong signs of progress at WHQR – despite recent setbacks concerning our program automation. The system we use to run both HQR News and Classical HQR, called AudioVault, suffered a major failure in late June.

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Jake Thomason had this reaction to a recent interview on The State of Things from WUNC: “Why is there a Christian discussion on your broadcast right now? My coworkers and I are loyal listeners, but are very concerned and not interested in hearing this. Christians have their own stations. Thank you for your time.” I wrote to Jake that the show segment featured an interview with two people who are attempting to approach environmental activism from a religious perspective, much as Dr. Martin Luther King worked within both an activist and a religious framework in the battle for civil rights.

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