The Corner

Surely NPR Would Never Let It Happen

I continue to be puzzled by one of the most familiar arguments for continuing federal funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting: that without tax dollars, some public stations in small radio markets with scant fundraising prospects would go dark.

Voluntary donations and private underwriting have long made up a majority of the revenue of National Public Radio and most of its local affiliates. According to NPR, member stations get an average of 10 percent of their funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But the number is much higher for stations in rural areas and small towns. Even if they would be popular enough among listeners to motivate giving, the argument goes, some of these stations lack the scale necessary to pay their bills through local giving alone.

But surely the noble, progressively minded folks at NPR would never let these stations go dark. Why would affiliates in large or affluent markets be allowed to keep all the money they raise for local use? I assume that in the absence of government funding, NPR would adjust its programming charges in a way that would essentially redistribute income from these markets to the smaller, poorer ones, thus ensuring truly national coverage for its programming and a basic “safety net” of news, talk, and quirky music shows for all Americans.

I’m convinced that the noble, progressively minded donors to stations in New York, San Francisco, Ann Arbor, Chapel Hill, Austin, and other communities would welcome the opportunity to share their good fortune with their disadvantaged counterparts.

No problem.

John Hood is a syndicated columnist and the president of the John William Pope Foundation, a North Carolina–based grantmaker.

Most Popular

U.S.

Women’s Sports Should Be Women’s Sports

Transgender sports policies make a mockery of women’s competition. Just look at the state of Connecticut. At the 2018 state open for women’s track and field, two young men identifying as transgender took first and second place in the 100m race. Their participation not only deprived young women of their ... Read More
U.S.

Women’s Sports Should Be Women’s Sports

Transgender sports policies make a mockery of women’s competition. Just look at the state of Connecticut. At the 2018 state open for women’s track and field, two young men identifying as transgender took first and second place in the 100m race. Their participation not only deprived young women of their ... Read More

South Park as Healing Mechanism

It didn’t take too long into 2020 for people on Twitter to start earnestly debating whether South Park, an extremely popular show that has been on air for decades, has been wreaking havoc on our society with its offensiveness. As far as I can tell, the conversation started with a series of tweets from She-Hulk ... Read More

South Park as Healing Mechanism

It didn’t take too long into 2020 for people on Twitter to start earnestly debating whether South Park, an extremely popular show that has been on air for decades, has been wreaking havoc on our society with its offensiveness. As far as I can tell, the conversation started with a series of tweets from She-Hulk ... Read More
Elections

Four Overlooked Weaknesses of Bernie Sanders

Four frequently overlooked weaknesses of Bernie Sanders: Another health issue, even a minor one, would end his campaign. Trying to knock off a candidate who has the largest plurality of delegates in a convention floor fight is an extremely difficult task … unless that candidate is 78 years old and has had ... Read More
Elections

Four Overlooked Weaknesses of Bernie Sanders

Four frequently overlooked weaknesses of Bernie Sanders: Another health issue, even a minor one, would end his campaign. Trying to knock off a candidate who has the largest plurality of delegates in a convention floor fight is an extremely difficult task … unless that candidate is 78 years old and has had ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Florida Bill to Ban ‘Nature Rights’

I have been warning that “nature rights” would soon become part of the Democratic Party's environmental platform. That hasn't happened at the national party level -- yet. But Florida's Democratic Party has embraced the idea that nature should have rights that anyone can sue to enforce in its official ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Florida Bill to Ban ‘Nature Rights’

I have been warning that “nature rights” would soon become part of the Democratic Party's environmental platform. That hasn't happened at the national party level -- yet. But Florida's Democratic Party has embraced the idea that nature should have rights that anyone can sue to enforce in its official ... Read More