|I've been on WBEZ many times. You talk, the words go over the airwaves. |
No non-profit police yank them back.
When the idea of merging the Sun-Times with WBEZ — OK, we’re being given to them, but allow us a fig leaf of pride — was initially bandied about, my first impulse was to write something mocking the station, perhaps a parody of their membership pledge drives, a regular cup rattle that can send the most passionate National Public Radio listener lunging for the dial.
But I never got beyond contemplation. Talk about an easy target; what I call a “duck in a bucket.” Imagine: the mallard placidly floating in the pail at your feet, quacking softly as you raise the shotgun. Where’s the challenge in that?
With readers asking for my take, I remember how for decades I’ve fought my way to the WBEZ studios through the dense crowds packing Navy Pier — trying not to have an eye put out by a churro, reflecting glumly every time at how before the pier was renovated, I scoffed that anybody would go all the way out there. It became the most popular tourist attraction in Illinois. A prophet I am not.
The folks at WBEZ always seem earnest, professional, young. True, they look at me like some mud-caked rhinoceros lumbering unexpectedly into the Botanic Garden’s annual orchid show. But that could be my own unease.
Yes, I read the Tribune editorial, snapping open their lorgnette and examining the merger, umm, acquisition, tutting about election endorsements being scuttled by our non-profit status. Having spent five years on the editorial board, let me tell you, endorsements are a nightmare to produce, like running a geography bee over six counties. So now suburbanites will have to pay attention to their own local politics and come to their own conclusions. Or use the Democratic Party cheat sheet in the voting booth. Not the end of the world.
Readers worry: Will I be muzzled? Will I start solemnly intoning about global warming, instead of my usual chirpy, trivial, out-of-the-blue, oh-my-God-I-can’t-stop-talking blabbery?
I’m not concerned. The fear seems to be that nonprofits must be neutral. But consider how that plays out in reality. WBEZ is not some generic radio news ticker spewing anodyne information. Listen for 15 minutes and certain political shadings are easily detected. There is a particular worldview, a perspective, despite their non-profit status. WIND it is not.
To continue reading, click here.
|The tough part about going on WBEZ is fighting through the crowds at Navy Pier. Getting to the|
station without gagging on the smell of honey roasted nuts or having your eye put out by a tourist's
churro can be a challenge.