BBC in SD
Five and a half years ago, Kerrie and I moved from St. Cloud, Minnesota, back to our hometown of Sioux Falls. It was a happy occasion all around, save one minor annoyance: I had lost my BBC World News Service.
Four years of dedicated Minnesota Public Radio listenership had spoiled me. It’s not that South Dakota Public Broadcasting was that much different. They played many of the same programs as MPR, offered the same insightful local news and public interest and overall filled a void that commercial broadcasting created. But they didn’t offer BBC World News Service.
No. Instead, we got classical music. Seriously. Both during midday and overnights. Classical music. Sleepy strings and muted tympanis and other classical stuff.
I’ve always felt that classical music on a public radio station is an antiquated ideal, something that only perpetuates the general opinion of public radio as snotty, stuck up, over-intellectual tripe. I don’t know anyone who listens to it, especially in my younger generation. It’s like public radio filler, something put on because they can’t go silent.
As if the classical music itself wasn’t a silence of its own.
I don’t have any beef with classical music as a genre. Aside from the fact that it was impossible to keep organized while I worked at Best Buy, I have respect for the music. It’s just that I don’t think it belongs on the radio. Especially when there was great chance to offer something that no one in South Dakota else did – unbiased world news in a sweet British accent.
Once, while camping, we were listening to the director of SDPB present a question and answer session on changes to their radio services. I grabbed my cell phone, ran to the edge of the lake (where our service was better) and made my plea: please, please, please bring BBC World News to SDPB. Please.
“We will keep it in mind. But many people enjoy our classical programming.”
Oh yeah? Name one.
Those people will be very upset today. An announcement during the morning news program revealed that I may have been right after all. Due to a lack of listeners, the overnight classical programming is being cancelled – from their end, not SDPB’s – and it will be replaced with…
…wait for it…
BBC World News Service.