I had a decent weekend but not much time to detox, what with my radio station flooding on Saturday and our pledge drive getting cut short again due to circumstances out of our control. Seriously, pushing water down a hallway to keep it out of my control and production rooms only for the water to come through the walls and baseboards sucked. That led to us frantically moving computers onto desks and chairs to keep stuff from frying. Then we tried to shop-vac what we could before the professionals got there. It was ridiculous.
I just wanted to post a few things about some stuff mentioned last week. First, the NBA season begins this Wednesday. I’ve looked online for a bit and not found any articles or commentary on anyone that feels like the NBA is cutting into the NFL season, which is barely at the half-way point. I know MLB starts before the end of the NBA season, but both of those sports play more than 60 games a season. The NFL is 17 games, 2-3 playoff games and a championship. I’ve talked with several people who feel the same as I do and wish that the NBA would hold off until at least sometime after week 10 or 12 in the NFL season. But at the same time, they’re dealing with a possible strike and lock-out with their teams and players associations, so there might not be a season at all next year. The NFL has the same problem. I know my buddy Bonner commented on my post previously and we had a nice talk about it. But does anyone else feel like basketball should be more respectful of football’s season, at least even for college? College basketball isn’t doing anything right now. Why can’t the NBA hold off too?
And lastly, the Juan Williams issue was a big thing last week that led to a firestorm of feedback from people who listen to public radio and many who don’t. There were several right-wing factions that urged their people to call in to public radio stations and tie up their phone lines during their pledge drives which didn’t improve things for anyone. I also read several Christian stations urged their listeners to do that too. Seriously people? Is that what drives you now, taking out large organization issues on the smaller people? The local public radio station has about as much responsibility in the firing of Juan Williams by NPR as I personally have in the signing of Jullius Peppers to the Chicago Bears last off-season. I’m a Bears fan and I watch their games, but I have nothing to do with how they make their decisions. The local station carries NPR programming and pays NPR to broadcast NPR’s programs. That’s where the relational line stays.
We (as local public radio stations across the country) didn’t hire Vivian Schiller as NPR’s CEO (who totally blundered this whole thing over and over again). We had nothing to do with them hiring Juan 10 years ago or upholding their supposed “journalistic policy,” which they cite often at public radio conferences but don’t do a great job of actually upholding it. So the backlash against the local station for NPR’s decision is unfounded and it only adds to the problem instead of fixing it. If you want to really let your voice be heard and make a difference, email NPR with your complaint- firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the subject of NPR’s handling of this situation, I want to go a step further than my previous post. I might get a lot of flack for this but the late Daniel Schorr, veteran news reporter and analyst for NPR for several decades was not shy in his disdain for the American military serving in Iraq, or how much of a moron he thought President Bush was every week on Weekend Edition. His bias and opinions were right there in the open, and no one at NPR raised a finger to him. Perhaps they couldn’t because of his long tenure as a journalist and the fact that he’d been at NPR since its inception. I don’t know. But to hold one man to this supposed standard and not apply the same principle to the whole lot shows what kind of leadership is really there.
Vivan Schiller, CEO of NPR
I’ve read a lot of articles about this whole mess, and even watched what people on both sides of the political spectrum have said about how this went down. There is a consensus and it doesn’t bode well for NPR. I guess the most telling part of this is something that really goes to the heart of the bigger issue for me concerning this is the lack of foresight that Vivian Schiller had in making this decision. She’s gone out an apologized for how she and NPR handled their issue with Juan but that doesn’t really cut it for me. Where does someone in an executive leadership position not have to face the same firing line that she gave to Williams for doing the exact thing that she cited him for? And where did she think this decision would go, and what did she think it would lead to? Did she even consider at all that public outcry over the firing would hurt NPR’s image as a news and media outlet, or that it would negatively impact the fundraising efforts of stations across the country at this time of year? Was there a thought at all of just letting Williams’ contract expire and not renew it?
This lack of looking at consequences or possible consequences only showcases the kind of leadership and individuals we’re promoting with a society that continues to not look at the next step(s) in the road. I used to live on a semi-dangerous street, where gunfire was heard nightly, a man was stabbed in the middle of the day three houses down one afternoon, and other violent things took place. One night we were awoken at 2AM to hear a man shouting at another man with a group around him that he was going to beat the **** out of the guy. We heard what sounded like iron hitting iron and this went on for some time. The group was cheering the guy on but it wasn’t a good cheering. This guy was beating a man in the middle of the road in a suburban neighborhood in the middle of the night. Finally the police arrived and several cars came. 20 minutes later the police left. And not 5 minutes after they were gone was the violent man at it again, possibly with the same guy. Fortunately the police returned and carried the guy to jail this time. I couldn’t understand how the violent guy didn’t think that not only screaming for 20-30 minutes outside at 2AM wouldn’t cause people to be alarmed and call the police, but also how turning his anger into violence wouldn’t lead to trouble with the authorities. How could he not see that coming? Perhaps these two issues have nothing to do with each other. But I think they do. And for an executive to showcase the exact same lack of discernment is very alarming. This article put it best. Read it here.