Segments in this Video

Public Radio (04:34)


Moderator John Donvan outlines the debate topic and introduces panelists. "Magnificent Noise" Co-founder and Podcast Creator Eric Nuzum and "Freethink" Co-founder and political Commentator Kmele Foster state their positions.

Supporting Public Radio Relevance (03:55)

Nuzum states that 36 million people listened to public radio last week. The term public radio describes many types of stations in many communities and relevance is a byproduct. The decline of public radio is misunderstood and overstated.

Opposing Public Radio Relevance (04:00)

Foster asks "relevant to what?" Mission themes include the desire to educate, inform, and serve public interest. Media is losing credibility with the public, writ large.

Relevance Modulation? (08:42)

Nuzum states that public radio has never been relevant enough. He discusses the war on misinformation and public radio's infrastructure. Foster discusses competition to provide information in the context the audience wants, and declining listenership. Nuzum counters that decline is normal.

Loss of Credibility (07:28)

Foster believes public radio has become obsessed with diversity, equity, and inclusion in a detrimental way; he reflects on nuance, complexity, and serving public interest. Nuzum believes there are two elements of inclusion- who is in front of the microphone and who is the speaker facing?

Era of Relevance (03:49)

Nuzum states that public radio was regarded as relevant among groups that were excluded. He considers what public radio was doing during the time of greater relevance and cites current examples of media stacking coverage that serves their interests.

Public Radio Perspectives (07:19)

Nuzum agrees that criticisms are warranted, but efforts are being made to learn and public radio acknowledges there is a problem. Foster counters that it has been consistently going in the wrong direction and is hostile to having complicated and nuanced conversations.

Public Radio Platform (04:12)

Tensions occur between the system as a whole and individual member stations. Nuzum reflects on people not wanting to hear about power, the government, and the elite; they want community information.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (05:12)

Freshman DEI conversations are pervasive on air and influence how we engage in our communities. "Where is the space for public radio to have an elevated conversation?" Foster considers the reification of blackness and whiteness concepts.

Business Model vs. Relevance (02:10)

Nuzum reflects on podcasts learning from public radio; advertising as a primary source of revenue is poisonous.

Platform Relevancy (02:49)

Public radio faces challenges with evolving music platforms; Foster is not sure they are surmountable. Nuzum states that stations need to determine how to create a meaningful music community that platforms like Apple Music and Spotify cannot.

Closing Thoughts (04:53)

Nuzum reads a portion of E.B. White's letter to the Carnegie Commission. Foster believes public radio should embrace the values of curiosity, empathy, and transparency with a goal of providing coverage that complicates the narrative. Donvan questions the audience on whether the discussion changed their minds.

Intelligence Squared (00:53)

Donvan thanks listeners, encourages continued funding of the program, and cites the names of key individuals. IQ2 works to combat extreme polarization through civil discourse.

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Is Public Radio Still Relevant?: A Debate

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Public radio emerged in the 1920s to give Americans access to news, commentary, cultural affairs, and other items that commercial radio often ignored. Funded by the government, contributors, and other entities, public radio has long provided listeners with a broad range of programs. But with the rise of satellite radio, on-demand streaming, and millions of podcasts in the 21st century, some critics argue that public radio is no longer essential in the United States and that taxpayers should stop funding it. Defenders disagree, arguing that it continues to provide independent, unique, and valuable content. Is public radio still relevant? Audio only.

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: FPT284219

Copyright date: ©2022

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