The Public Radio Dilemma – Ratings Or Service?

“For more than a decade now, a culture war has raged within public radio over whether public stations exist to serve the largest possible audience, or to serve smaller audiences whose desires are not fulfilled by commercial radio. The maximize-the-numbers crowd has won in most cities, accepting the view of public radio’s most influential consultant, David Giovannoni, that any station’s job is to attract the most listeners. Opponents argued that public radio should sound more like it did from the birth of FM through the 1980s, with a mix of news, talk, classical, jazz, folk and other kinds of music that you can’t otherwise hear on the radio. As government funding for public radio declined, Giovannoni won the day.”