Is it time to kick out Andre Rieu?

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Posted in Current‘s reader forum, DirectCurrent, by Mark Jeffries on April 22, 2009 at 12:55pm

In the Current article on spring fundraising and pledge drives, they say that Twin Cities Public Television (KTCA, St. Paul) placed its emphasis on the fans of established programming instead of relying on the off-message poppy concerts, Lawrence Welk retrospectives and disguised infomercials that have become too often the bread-and-butter of pledge drives — the concept, of course, that public radio has been able to emphasize in pledging for years with great success.

Can I hope that the success of TPT might inspire other PTVers to dump what must be expensive shows to license and bring pledge drives back to the proper emphasis of the regular programming that regular viewers of PTV stations want? Or is that just too much to ask and that PTV programmers are just hooked on the Suze Orman and Andre Rieu FlavorAid?

Replies to this discussion

Reply by Ezra Wall on June 10, 2009 at 3:15pm

Public broadcasters across the board receive ever-decreasing portions of their financial support from taxpayer sources. I’m sure they’d all love to have people excited to pledge their support to the NewsHour, Charlie Rose and Nova. The reality is that, in spite of KTCA’s apparent success with this philosophy, others have not had success that way in recent years. It’s hard to argue with Rock Rhythm and DoWop when it pledges 400 percent better than Tavis Smiley.

Reply by Ron Perrone on October 6, 2009 at 12:27pm

OK….True. But maybe we should formulate the argument another way. Is it the role of public broadcasting to spoon feed soft entertainment to the public because they were raised on it, are used to it? Public broadcasting used to be all about NOT doing that. It was the alternative to the bland, the common, the banal and the profitable. Why is that path closed to us now? Has the battle to be an “alternative” already been lost?

Reply by Mark Jeffries on October 6, 2009 at 2:23pm

The argument that the supporters of Rieu and Welk would make is that they are providing an alternative for an audience that commercial terrestrial broadcasting doesn’t want anymore and isn’t being served by cable except for Hallmark and Retirement Living (and news channels, particularly Fox News for people of certain political stands) — and that public broadcasting is about serving under-served audiences of all kinds.

All well and good and if a PTVer wants to air Welk reruns on a Saturday night when only old people are home, I don’t blame them for wanting to do so. Even Rieu is OK in small doses, since his kind of entertainment is not offered elsewhere on the dial. But when this sort of thing becomes the only kind of pledge programming, that’s when it concerns me — and that’s why it was such a good thing to see TPT’s success at using established programming for a successful pledge. The question is, since this thread started so long ago — was this a one-drive fluke or have they had to go back to Suze and Andre to bring in the money?

Reply by Ezra Wall on November 27, 2009 at 10:04pm

We can all die on top of whatever hill we choose, but isn’t it wiser to make certain choices that allow us to live to fight again another day? And I know the answer to that is something about standing by principles and not giving in to soft entertainment, blah blah blah. In my world, though, facts are facts. The fact is my agency is getting our budget cut AGAIN — along with all other state agencies in Mississippi. If The Suze and Andre Show helps us stay on the air, BRING IT ON!

Reply by Ron Perrone on October 6, 2009 at 12:08pm

YES! YES! Please! Please!

Reply by P G Sroufe on February 2, 2010 at 3:53pm

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