Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Goodbye Tavis, We Hardly Knew Thee

Tavis Smiley is leaving NPR and Kathy Y. Wilson's latest column discuss his departure and the state of NPR. I agree with Kathy's analysis that Tavis may have personal achievement in mind, not disappoint with NPR's efforts to "attract minority listeners," as his reason for leaving the network.

I think Kathy did make one factual error:
The Tavis Smiley Show was NPR's first black show in its 34-year history, airing daily since 2002 on 87 stations. It drew NPR's largest black audience as well as its youngest audience.
Now, I will not even get into what a "black show" is supposed to be, but Juan Williams hosted Talk of the Nation for over a year in 2000 and 2001. That show may not qualify as what Kathy means by "Black Show," but Tavis was not the first black person to host a show on the Network. Kathy does point out well that NPR's programming is as culturally diverse as any human beings can possibly be in America and still maintain a solid listener base. Only the BBC World Service does a better job, mainly because of the full support the UK government.

NPR is keeping American Culture, at least what I consider American Culture, alive and kicking.

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