Lisa Romero

Lisa Romero
Salfordville, Pennsylvania, USA
December 31
Welcome to the AMEROCENTRIC ECCENTRIC - challenging the way we look at things from our American perspective, while cherishing and celebrating our unique culture. I'm an average American, on-again-off-again journalist of 20 years and astute student of humanity with too many questions, never enough answers and an unwavering, if not at times pitiable faith that people (even the most twisted specimens) are inherently good.

MAY 6, 2009 3:11PM

NPR, I can't forgive you - so why do I love you so madly?

Rate: 8 Flag
NPR = News-lovers, Passionately Rejected! 

NPR - you are like a bad partner who keeps hurting me, but I just can't leave you, no matter how hard I try.

Your latest radio transgression, one I'm having a really hard time forgiving, is the March 20 annihilation of "Day to Day," your quirky, West-coasty, thought-provoking midday reminder to me of what's good and right and worthwhile about our lifelong relationship. I miss it everyday, just like I'm grieving the death of good journalism.

You had listeners, certainly. The anchors - Alex Chadwick and Madeline Brand, as well as the wide range of ultra-talented reporters (some from, if I'm not mistaken!) - drew us in, day in and day out.

But you claimed you didn't have money. And to some extent, I believe that. I've been so mad at you in recent years, I haven't wanted to donate.  Then there was the economic crash, which couldn't have helped. Certainly, my discretionary funds have been low - so I figured local fat cats could bear the burden while I pieced my life back together after a tough layoff.

But last Friday, on one of the first days of Philadelphia's spring fund drive for public radio, I heard either Terry Gross or Marty Moss-Coane (of "Radio Times") say on the air, just before they realized their mikes were hot, "We're in big trouble" before launching into their tag-team sales pitch for local donors. That blunt honesty, which wasn't meant to be heard, got me off my ass and made me contribute.

I don't want you to be in trouble, NPR. I LOVE you! I cannot live without you, truly. I would be lost without the excellent news and commentary you provide.

Don't go breakin' my heart, NPR!

But listen here, and listen good.... I care so much about our relationship, you need to understand that I am loyal to the things I love. And missing "Day to Day" HURTS. I miss the people, I miss how the show FED MY BRAIN in a different way than anything else does.... I feel like you drew me in, and made me love that part of you, and you snatched it away because you're a bleeding cheapskate. You replaced it, at least here in Philly, with Michelle Martin of "Tell Me More." And while I respect Michelle, and I like the tone of her multicultural program, and I definitely love the "barbershop guys" she features on Fridays (where four male newshounds dish on the week's top stories in a way like no other), it falls flat in comparison. I find myself (pardon me, Michelle) resenting a great show like "Tell Me More" because it isn't D2D.

So I guess what I'm saying is, weren't there any options? You had to just kill D2D outright - knowing it can never be reinstated, and that voice is now lost to us forever? What's next if listeners don't start ponying up the cash? I shudder to think of it. Journalism is getting suckier all the time. Thank heavens there's still "Here and Now." But, get me - it's NOT D2D! 

(Don't get me started about my love-hate feelings toward your affiliate in Philly, WHYY. Easier to forget my disappointment in learning the local CEO was making more than $700K annually, or that you let morning anchor Brenda Jorett go during the height of the economic meltdown, when we desperately needed a calming, familiar voice of reason.)

NPR - I have done what little I can this year to keep you going. I made my pledge. I genuinely wish it could be more.

Can you pledge to me that you're doing all you can to contain costs while keeping our beloved, respected, trusted voices on the air? Carl Kasell, Susan Stamberg, Ira Glass, Garrison Keillor, Daniel Shore, Neil Conan, Michele Norris, and too many more to name (let alone for me to have the time to look up their names so I spell them right)?

These people - the collective NPR team - represent to me the last bastion of true American journalism.

Don't kill the love I have for you, NPR. You've got to give a little to get a little.... And another Day to Day debacle would really kill me right now.

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I've heard that the head honchos in administration were paying themselves a bit too well, I just didn't realize how very, very well indeed their generosity extended to themselves.

It's very upsetting and demoralizing. I wonder if Mrs. Kroc was aware of this when she made her bequest? My gut tells me that she would not be amused. Not amused at all.

Top dog shouldn't be making more than 150k. If they can't live on that then they're not nearly as intelligent as they think they are.

There are few people that merit an income of $700k under the best of circumstances, but a non-profit, publicly funded organization such as NPR, in an economy such as this? Never.

It disgusts me.
We must be neighbors! I listen to WHYY too, and love it, despite my concerns, despite that local CEO making such an obscene amount while they beg for my membership. My husband gets so angry about that he doesn't want to contribute anymore -- but I just can't help myself . . .
I KNOW! I was so upset at the time.... I wrote a letter expressing my dissatisfaction; I received a bit of a defensive response (ala "he deserves this pay because he can demonstrate value in this market, drawing in big donors, etc.), but I really, really had a hard time with $700K package.

So ... that's what my money goes toward? That was my view, still sticks in my craw, true or not.

(Thanks for sharing my pain, haha.) Agreed, Mrs. Kroc would NOT be happy.
Faith - I am in the same boat. I donated the other day knowing I truly don't have the discretionary funds - truly, truly. But hearing Terry or Marty say that - well, it really upset me.

I wish if things were that bad they'd simply say on the air, "We're in real trouble." And that they'd MEAN for that statement to be heard. Because people can't afford to lose NPR - and America and the world can't afford to lose more good journalism.
I've never forgiven them for how they sacked Bob Edwards just a few months shy of his 25th anniversary with them.

In their response to my (admittedly angry) email, they stated that since they don't consider listeners to be their customers listeners views don't count for anything.
Oh, wow - that's RIGHT! I remember that, about Bob Edwards. I loved him! I miss him now, too!

What kind of sick Pandora's Box have I opened unto us, haha!
I contributed to NPR this year after sitting out for several years. I wasn't too upset that they got rid of Day-to-Day. The replacement on our local station, a show about the origin of words seems a little elitist and probably mainly appeals to English majors though. I guess it must be cheap to produce.

NPR is a unique voice in this mass media world. I have it on right now (All Things Considered is my favorite). We do need to support it during these economic times.

Thanks for this post alerting us to its plight.
I think I'd rather be waterboarded than forced to endure an NPR pledge drive. I'm not sure there is anything more tedious or mind-numbing than listening to NPR on-air personalities trying to freewheel for hours on the subject of "why NPR is such a valuable part of your life".

Personally, I think that to cut costs they should rely on more freelancers/volunteers and they should scale back their world-wide reporting - do we really need an NPR person on the ground in every corner of the globe?
I am an AVID supporter of NPR. I try and schedule my Saturdays around Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me.

I only hope my pittance of support keeps my faves on the air.
I'm an NPR addict too. Let me tell you, after enduring pledge drives in College Station, TX, the ones here in NE are HEAVEN!!! I'm out of the loop - why did they let Bob Edwards go? Was it to save $$$ or had he offended someone?