News that Chicagos public radio station, supported partially by the taxpayers, will junk music and go full-time talk is interesting. Any listener to public radio who supposes conservatives will have a role on the station because taxpayers come conservative as well as liberal, can forget it. Listen to NPR at any time of the day or night and youll be disabused about fair and balanced. As a matter of fact, there was only one public affairs show on WBEZ that had a spot for conservative views as well as liberals, and that was the old Bruce DuMont show Inside Politics where yours truly was the conservative member. Its to Torey Maletias credit (the head of WBEZ) that he sought to program a conservative (me) with a liberal for a show many years ago (Mara Tapp) but Tapp, true open-minded liberal that she was, couldnt handle sharing the microphone with a conservative; thus the idea died aborning.
The outrage here is not that `BEZ will go liberal all the time, but that since there is no obvious market for liberal talk, the station has to use subsidized, taxpayer-funds to make it happen. Beyond that, we are assured by Rob Feder of the Sun-Times, not necessarily the most conservative of scribes, that there are other outlets for jazz, notably the College of DuPage FM station. Indeed there are, and I listen to it regularlybut `BEZ had more than just platter spinners playing jazz; they had Dick Buckley who is a jazz authority explaining the delineation of the performers, more or less like a Ph.D course in jazz appreciation. That means no more interpretative commentaries on the era of Armstrong, Teagarden, Anita ODay et al. Buckley has been given his walking papers and as a jazz fan I hope he gets picked up by WDCB in Glen Ellyn. But the point should not be lost on public affairs program listeners: `BEZ will be presenting many hours of liberal talk at taxpayer expense.