Friday, December 12, 2008

My Five Year-Plan For Media Domination Hits A Snag.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

If you've followed this site for any amount of time, you'll know that I've been an occasional contributor to NPR's "News & Notes". It's been a minute since I've appeared on-air. I was supposed to go around election time, but the arrival of our second child caused me to postpone. The next go-round was scheduled for early January, and I was already getting my pre-canned zingers together.

I won't be needing my pre-canned zingers anymore.
Faced with a sharp decline in revenue, National Public Radio said Wednesday it will pare back its programming and institute its first organization-wide layoffs in 25 years.

Washington-based NPR said it would lay off about 7 percent of its workforce and eliminate two daily programs produced out of its facilities in Culver City, Calif. The shows are "Day to Day," which was aimed at younger listeners, and the newsmaker-interview program "News & Notes," which NPR hoped would attract African Americans.

Some of those losing their jobs are veteran NPR voices, such as Ketzel Levine, an NPR reporter since 1977, and Vicky O'Hara, an editor and former diplomatic correspondent with 26 years on the job. Others include "News & Notes" host Farai Chideya, "Day to Day" host Madeleine Brand, Washington reporter Libby Lewis, entertainment-industry correspondent Kim Masters and national reporter John McChesney. About half the 64 people cut are journalists.

Combined with the elimination of "Day to Day" and "News & Notes," the cutbacks constitute a retreat from NPR's efforts to reach new listeners, especially young people and members of minority groups who are not part of NPR's "core" audience.
Well, so much for my Five Year-Plan For Media Domination. NPR was the start of what would have been a gradual, yet steady rise from this blog, to radio, to print media, and finally somewhere on television. Since the effort has stalled (for now), I'm gonna have to keep my Day Job. Ya'll can help me by supporting my sponsors wink wink to help me keep up my Jamba Juice addiction the lights on here at AB.com in the meantime. Who knows what I'll do next, but at least I've got some phonographic evidence for the kids to listen to someday.

They probably have bigger issues to worry about right now, but I want to thank the staff of "News and Notes" for taking a flyer on me a year or so ago. Doing the show was always big fun. I met some other cool bloggers and always ran into some famous people while in the downtown DC studio. The producers (thanks Dev) went out of their way to accommodate me, even allowing me to not use my full gov't name on air. And Farai Chideya is a class act and Grade-A journalist who will certainly land in bigger, better, and hopefully more stable places in the future.



Best wishes, Farai. It's been real.

Listen To AB's Appearances On NPR "News & Notes" [Search NPR Archives]

NPR to Cut 64 Jobs and Two Shows [WashPost]

9 AverageComments™:

guruburu said...

mm you make me crave jamba juice right now :)

the uppity negro said...

yeah man, I heard about this.

This was a sad day for black voices all around. Clearly I wont ever be getting the call from NPR. But alas, we still havent been rendered voiceless in the media, but Yolanda and Melissa over at The Kitchen Table were quite clear that this has to do with a tacit media directive that we no longer need the [token] black perspective. Moreover the fact that Farai is among the select few blacks who actually host a show and not merely a pundit said something, so to cancel the show is somewhat of a slap in the face.

But, we still have a community of black bloggers, it'll all work out.

spool32 said...

Damn, I'm sorry to hear that. It was a good gig, and definitely will look good on your resume.

MissJay said...

:( Sorry to hear that as well. We're all feeling the affects of the economy I guess.

Best Wishes to those let go.

AB you're find another way to rise to stardom ;)

vanilla latte said...

Bummer, AB. But good things to come I'm sure!!

Listen, I spent 15 years in radio before exiting. Might I make a suggestion?? Skip aspirations of radio & print altogether. They're dying beasts. Have you seen numbers/ratings for AM/FM radio?
Have you read about the incredibly shrinking print readership? Just ask the Washington Post...Oh, and Tribune.

Blogs/internet is the way to communicate now and in the future.
TV should be your next aspiration, AB.

Let's have a moment of silence for ALL radio. 'Cause, public radio aside, commercial programming STINKS.

Anonymous said...

This is a shame. Radio is really the final frontier for democratic media. You can pontificate all you want about the Internet, but getting your message across requires a level of education, access and finances not available to the general public.

I suppose podcasts are a close second.

Anyway, it's a shame.

vanilla latte said...

@ Anonymous

"Radio is really the final frontier for democratic media. You can pontificate all you want about the Internet, but getting your message across requires a level of education, access and finances not available to the general public."

Public radio is a fraction of our country's airwaves. Commercial radio--the bulk of the dial--does not promote or encourage "democratic" media. So, it's not like the US is really "served" by AM/FM radio anyway.

In this country the internet is a far more "democratic" tool than radio when it comes to reaching mass audiences--world wide--not limited to radio frequencies.

And there is no government agency regulating the www (yet). The FCC, which oversees our airwaves, limits free speech with indecency rules/fines. Thus, truly, not allowing free speech.

If you're looking for a "democratic" media...only a fraction of radio can provide that for you. The internet is unlimited in what it can provide.
And podcasts can be just as effective as a "live" interview.

Citizen Ojo said...

I didn't even get a chance to walk in to the lobby of NPR. This is sad news.. I will miss the bloggers roundtable. Black radio doesn't respect us. I don't think they know what we are or how to deal with us.

Gracie B. said...

I was really disappointed when I heard that NPR was ending News and Notes. Of course I was about to start a mutiny anyway because it comes on at midnight here on KQED.On the rare chances I was up late enough to hear it, or would catch it online, I really enjoyed it. It's going to be sad to lose this show and the other journalists at NPR. It's where I get most of my news.

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