Friday, June 15, 2007

The new WBUR ad campaign
In many editions of GateHouse New England's suburban weeklies this week, WBUR 90.9, Boston's NPR affiliate, has half page ads called "Putting a face on the issues." The ad has a picture of about 15 black children holding empty saucer plates [wide bowls], in their hands, while staring at you. The picture is placed in the window panes of a fancy suburban kitchen. So, if you were standing in the kitchen doing the dishes, the kids would be staring at you through the window. The text states:
"Some problems seem like they're worlds away. Through the incisive analysis and intelligent discussion, WBUR helps you to understand the gravity of global issues. From the threat of tsunamis. To the tragedy of world hunger. Discover what it's like to be truly informed."
Then, it gives listener information. The ad, which was donated by RDW Group, Inc., a Boston/Worcester/Providence public relations firm, is a very effective one, nailing the point home that public radio can bring you the world.
I used to love listening to WBUR when Christopher Lydon hosted "The Connection" back in the 1990s. I switched from WRKO after Gene Burns and Jerry Williams left the airwaves and it was a fresh change from all the conservative political yelling and hot talk fluffery which was broadcast on the AM dial. I found the public radio shows to be informative and they often challenged me to think, even if they were overly chummy to big business or sucking up to just about everything then-President Bill Clinton wanted done.

Personally, I don't listen to public radio much anymore. While it may bring you the world, I don't think they do a very good job of bringing listeners the nation, state, or community, despite what they might think. Why anyone would waste money rebroadcasting The Diane Rehm Show is beyond me, especially when that money could be spent beefing up the local news. She is unlistenable. I also find public radio too one-sided and often too sedate. Some of their employees act as if they are higher than thou. Which is too bad, because it should be a great resource. Sigh.

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