Mississippi Public Broadcast drops “inappropriate” Fresh Airi

Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) dropped the very popular Fresh Air hosted by Terri Gross.  The drop came at Christmas time in 2009.  It then returned for a brief period and now is again off the MPB’s airways.   An email dated July 12 2010 from Kevin Farrell, director of MPB radio, states “MPB no longer airs this program [Fresh Air]  due to recurring inappropriate content.”

Just what was this inappropriate content?  Mr. Farrell did not elaborate.   A look at the programs that aired recently on Fresh Air  reveals these interviews:  July 13th, “A Psychiatrist’s Prescription for his Profession; ”  July 12th, “Missing ‘Priceless’ Artwork? Call Robert Wittman; ”  July 9th, “Colin Firth: A Leading Man in ‘A Single Man’; ” and July 8th, “Generating Changes In The Electrical Power Grid.”  Anything inappropriate in these stories?

Recent reviews included these: July 13th, “Robert Randolph: A Gospel Guitarist’s Secular ‘Road’;” July 12th, “A Star Named Marilyn (But Not The One You Think; ” and July 9th, “Cholodenko’s ‘Kids’ Flick: More Than Just All Right.”  Anything that stands out as recurring and inappropriate here?

Recent political topics included “CPAC, The Tea Party And The Remaking Of The Right,” “Connecting The Dots Between PhRMA And Congress,” and “‘Clinton Vs. Starr’: A ‘Definitive’ Account.” Anything inappropriate that the average American could not handle in these topics?

Now what could possibly be inappropriate about the content of these shows?  Couldn’t possibly be the interview with Colin Firth regarding his role in “A Single Man.”  He plays the part of a gay man grieving the loss of his partner.  The story line of grieving the death of a loved one is as old as the story of David and Jonathan in First Samuel of the Hebrew Scriptures.   And it certainly could not be the movie review of Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are Alright.”  That story line of parents dealing with their rebellious teens goes all the way back to Adam and Eve.  Oh wait, the parents are both lesbians.   Nah, it couldn’t be that.

Unless what is inappropriate is that these story lines reveal homosexuals as being just as affected by universal themes as everyone else. Now that we can’t have because that would mean gays, lesbians, bi’s, and transgender folks live just as mundane a life as everyone else.  It would mean that they are not the evil incarnate bent on destroying the American dream, baseball and apple pie, too. They are just trying to reach the American dream like everyone else.  Now that is inappropriate!!!

One of the beauties of public radio is that it will air shows that commercial radio is too scared to air.  It will offer a point of view that challenges us to think about life in new and unique ways.  Thinking is something that Americans seem afraid to do these days.  Based on the rise of the Tea Party with its hate and fear based jargon and the slanderous distortions coming from Fox News, people in America have forgotten how to think for themselves and seem willing to surrender their minds to the emotion of fear.

MPB seems to be following suit in reducing its programming to the amusement and entertainment shows like “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and “Only a Game. ”  Not that there is anything wrong with these fine shows but public radio is meant to be something more than just idle amusement.  It is supposed to be an alternative to network radio and television not more of the same.  And in Mississippi where a girl cannot even take her girlfriend to a school prom because it might be distracting, there is a definite need for a forum where an alternative to homophobia can be heard.

No, this certainly cannot be the inappropriate content that Mr. Farrell is referring to because free speech is a constitutional right of the first amendment.  He clearly knows that to censor any programming on public radio simply because it does not match someone’s political or religious views is against the first amendment.  Right Mr. Farrell?




  1. Perhaps it was the interview with dominatrix about her S&M dungeon: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2010/03/13/npr-skips-over-publicity-conservative-authors-makes-time-dominatrix

    For the Christians, there’s always the Good Friday show where Gross suggests the Bible is “more hope than journalism,” with all that Jesus garbage.

    Turns out that none of these are the reasons.

  2. How backward and closed minded have we become?

  3. Fred, here’s clarification. I hate that this theory grew legs and so many stereotypes about Mississippi were reinforced on sites like Gawker. Luckily, Maddow was able to get the whole story.

    Well, a small part of it. I suspect more will come out about the root of the problem… And it’s not some anti-gay, Tea Bag conspiracy.


    Yes, I just posted a comment from someone at MPB who stated the same thing. I didn’t post the comment initially because I thought I needed verification of it. I received that verification today. And posted the comment.

    • In general, a lot of public radio is going for a broad brush, it seems. Here in Portland, OR, our NPR station dropped the BBC’s “World Have Your Say” because some listeners complained about “production values” and because some people yelled at each other (I’m not quoting here, by the way.). Yet WHYS was a unique show that traveled the world talking to the “regular” folks there about the issues of the day, with people calling in from all over the world. Every show there seemed to be multiple callers from Portland too. WHYS was replaced by an ok show, that’s just more of the same public radio talk, “Here & Now.” It’s a real shame when public radio steps back from its valuable role.

  4. I often turn the dial when Terry Gross comes on because she interview too many obscure rock groups. In short, despite some meaty topics, her show often lacks substance.

    • I have the same digital impulse unless I’m behind the wheel. All the same, I’m glad Gross is aired where I live. It’s a sign of a healthy community.

  5. Excellent post. So happy to have discovered your blog, which I’ll be following from now on.

  6. NewsBusters: Mississippi Public Radio Drops ‘Fresh Air,’ Lefty Blogs Hysterical Over Non-existent Anti-gay Conspiracy

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: