Sunday, December 8, 2013
Thank you for your coverage of the programming changes taking place at the Maine Public Broadcasting Network ("Maine public radio cuts back its music for more talk," Nov. 27).
A sign protesting a Maine Public Broadcasting music-program cutback in 2001 expresses the feelings of some readers about the radio network's newly announced changes in programming.
2001 File Photo/The Associated Press
The decision to eliminate classical music on weekend mornings and to ax two of the three jazz programs on Friday evenings constitutes the continuation of a policy evidently adopted more than a decade ago to replace classical music, jazz and other music programs with news, talk and public affairs.
A radio station that once seemed to have an appropriate balance between music and news now appears to be on the brink of becoming all talk -- leaving its members and other listeners with almost no source for classical music and jazz or for news about cultural events around the state.
It seems to me that in Maine, as in other states with only one public radio station, the station officials have a responsibility to offer diverse programming that features an array of programs not available on commercial radio. Shrinking the time devoted to classical music and jazz reduces the opportunities for encouraging interest in music and the arts in general and for promoting the really fine concerts and other cultural events that occur in Maine throughout the year.
My wife, Sally, and I are extremely troubled by these decisions -- so concerned, in fact, that we have informed the station's leadership that we are significantly reducing our financial support. I would encourage other MPBN members to consider this step with the goal of persuading the station's board and staff to restore balance to the station's schedule.
As a loyal follower of and contributor to MPBN, I was saddened and dismayed by the recent cutbacks to musical programming. More news and more talk is just that -- more of what we already have been told and more commentary on commentary that we have already been subjected to ad infinitum. Music is new news.
It not only gives us respite from the constant verbal battering but offers insight into the human condition that provokes the news. I've learned more about the American psyche and its reaction to WWI, WWII, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the '60s, etc. from a Friday afternoon with Toby Leboutillier than from the lecturing of many a political pundit.
Bring back the music. We're drowning in talk.
Time marches on with "improvements" under way, but I want to mark the passing of musical traditions once brought to us by MPBN. I'm a member, so I've bought my right to rant about the changes going into effect today.
It will no longer be possible to stroll "Down Memory Lane" with Toby Leboutillier on Friday afternoons.
When I first listened to "In One Era and Out the Other," I thought it corny and, frankly, kind of annoying.
But over the years, that dose of nostalgia grew on me. It signaled the start of the weekend. It reminded me of earlier times. After my parents died, I found myself listening more closely to "their" music, wondering if they had liked these tunes as much as I did in that moment.
And no more easing into Saturdays and Sundays, lulled into dozing and daydreaming by the 6-8 a.m. classical music offerings. The two hours of music provided a gentle wakening, versus being jerked out of sleep Monday through Friday by the BBC and "Morning Edition" news.
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