Sunday, June 19, 2005

Save the Music!


As Congress sets takes aim at PBS funding, looking to wipe it out, the little musical diversity that’s left on the air is in extreme danger. As usual, the Repblicans are using a smokescreen of disinformation, deceit, and out-right falsehoods to cloak their actions, including going so far as to suppress a poll showing 80% of Americans support public broadcasting.

I cannot imagine what the loss of Mountain Stage, Soundstage, and Austin City Limits would be like. They are about the only places left on TV where you can find artists who are not cut from the ClearChannel cookie cutter.

Emmylou Harris
Lucinda Williams
Los Lobos
Nanci Grittith
Patti Griffin
John Prine
Bright Eyes

That list only scratches the surface of the huge mountain of names that will virtually disappear from TV without public broadcasting.

Even worse, the only outlet I have for local and regional music on TV is PBS. Shows like Jubilee, Kentucky Life, and Mixed Media regularly support and showcase Kentucky artisits. This is the kind of material that is found only on PBS stations in Kentucky, which brings me to another point.

If PBS goes, all traces of programming by Kentucky, for Kentucky, about Kentucky go with it. Our PBS stations here devote many hours each week to covering various aspects of Kentucky life. This is stuff that is found nowhere else on TV.

Turning to public radio, if it did not exist, then all that remains is a desperate sea of corporate ownership and mass market programming. No radio station in this town plays local artists, except the public radio station. No station plays any of the artists listed above, except the public radio station.

If you care at all about musical diversity*, then you need to stand up and be counted right now. Here are some places to go for more information.

Sign Move On's petition.

Look up your elected officials and contact them.

Read more about the effort to cripple PBS and NPR.

Do it now. This could come to a vote in the coming week.

Get involved now before we face the prospect of nothing but Britney Spears and Toby Keith on the radio.

*There are, of course, many other reasons to support public braodcasting, and other places are making those important arguments. I haven't seen many people speaking out for music though, so I wanted to take that approach here.

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