While public broadcasting covers poets and their work, a new anthology may be the first book of poems inspired by public media stories. Poet Robbi Nester of Lake Forest, Calif., edited The Liberal Media Made Me Do It: Poetic Responses to NPR & PBS Stories (Lummox Press), featuring works of 56 poets reacting to segments and programs aired by public stations. Nester answered a few questions by email. This exchange has been edited. Where did the idea for this book come from?
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has weighed in on PBS’s decision to delay airing the Masterpiece megahit for months after each season premieres in Britain. And as his countryfolk might say, he is cheesed off. “I want to have simultaneous transmission in America and Britain,” he tells the Telegraph of London. “The difficulty that we have is that people are discussing the series as it happens online before America’s seen it and on the internet we’re all in the same company. It’s madness.”
Then he adds: “It’s what I’d like, but who cares what I think?”
Scheduling Downton is a tricky subject for PBS. The blockbuster costume drama has always premiered in January on PBS, two months after the British airing.
A mandate for a balanced budget and a drive to reduce its production commitments spurred NPR to cancel Tell Me More, one of the few remaining broadcast shows outside of its newsmagazines that the network produces itself. NPR will end the production as of Aug. 1 as part of a broader newsroom restructuring announced May 20. Twenty-eight jobs in its newsroom and library will be cut; eight of the positions are currently unfilled. Tell Me More, a weekdaily program featuring host Michel Martin and focusing on news topics related to people of color, now airs on 136 stations.
The producers of public radio’s This American Life will take over distribution of their show starting July 1, using Public Radio Exchange to deliver the program to stations. TAL and Public Radio International, its distributor of 17 years, announced in March that they would part ways effective July 1. Under the agreement announced Wednesday, Chicago Public Media and Ira Glass will handle distribution and underwriting, while Marge Ostroushko will be responsible for marketing and station relations. Ostroushko handled those duties before PRI picked up the show in 1997. “We’re excited and proud to be partners now with PRX,” Glass said in a statement.
• I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! Granted, that’s probably not among the verses in The Liberal Media Made Me Do It!, a new collection of poems based on public broadcasting stories and shows. But the book does contain pubmedia-centric contributions from more than 50 poets who were inspired by Radiolab, Performance Today, A Prairie Home Companion and other fare. “For me, the greatest delight in receiving these pieces has been to recognize the stories I have heard on the radio, with the added dimension of another’s perception added in,” writes editor Robbi Nester. “This brings home the truth that each of us could start with the same raw material and yet produce finished products that resemble one another only in incidental ways.”