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Friday Feedback for April 5, 2013

Note: this text is a somewhat expanded version of the audio as aired.

Listener Ned wrote from Topsail:

NPR is ending Talk of the Nation on July 1st. Is it possible that WHQR will at that time broadcast both hours of the Diane Rehm show? That would be great.

Many listeners will have heard about the demise of Talk of the Nation, which was announced last Friday. I hope Neal Conan will continue to contribute to NPR. As for WHQR’s plans, those are uncertain at this time. We will certainly weigh our options, and Diane will be one of them.

Also, note the good news that Science Friday will continue to be distributed by NPR. You may have heard that Science Friday’s host Ira Flatow will be our guest of honor at a fundraising luncheon in Wilmington on May 21st. Right now we’re still soliciting sponsors for this event. Please keep following news about it here on our website. And members, be on the lookout for more information in our weekly email newsletter.

A recent segment by Planet Money, heard on All Things Considered and on This American Life, focused on the rapid rise in claims for disability benefits. The series was called “Unfit for Work.” A Wilmington attorney who works with disability claims took strong exception to the series, calling it “obscene” that

...traumatized American workers who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefts [are] being publicly ridiculed.

He went on to write that is

deplorable to trivialize the plight of these injured people, or to suggest that they fake disability as a ‘choice’.

He goes on to ask if there is any civilized country that requires citizens to hire a lawyer and go through a trial to receive basic medical treatment. And he concludes by saying that there are people in this community with extremely serious medical issues being denied coverage and treatment, while

WHQR chooses to air sensationalistic ‘entertainment’ in the guise of reporting. That is simply shameful.

In response, I wrote to the attorney,

Your letter raises significant issues concerning this segment. Such issues need to be debated openly and robustly in our society. In keeping with our Mission Statement to offer "news, music, entertainment and interaction to expand knowledge, encourage artistic appreciation, engage our community and promote civil discourse", I believe this report – and dissenting views -- need airing.
This American Life covers a wide range of topics. Their stories on the mortgage crisis of the recent past received much positive attention. The Washington Post has praised the “Unfit for Work” segment as a valuable addition to the national dialogue.

Finally, after a week of fundraising, our staff let loose their creativity on April 1st. Bob Workmon announced on our website that the station had decided to jettison its current schedule classical music schedule in favor of a new locally-hosted CRUST PUNK MURDER BLOCK which, with intern John Mortara’s assistance, feature music from notable groups such as “Extreme Noise Terror,” “Doom,” “Cannibal Corpse,” and “Dirt.” Per John’s request, Bob announced he would assume the on-air persona of Bobstein the Dragonslayer during our regularly-scheduled Midday Interview of arts community movers and shakers.

The story is still on our website, now with the disclaimer that it was an April Fool’s prank. Some readers, who we hoped actually did get the joke, nevertheless told us of their program preferences anyway. Listener Tracy wrote:

[I] still wish you had more talk or other kinds of music besides classical through the midday.

Listener Michele wrote:

I was just about to pull my underwriting contract, when I remembered what day it was! Never mind.

Listener Martilon wrote:

I think there isn't enough classical music throughout the day. That's what WHQR is known for. I don't want to hear watered-down talk shows. More background information about the classical music played is what's lacking: Pat Marriott does a good job at providing background information. And Performance Today is too light and fluffy for nighttime listening.

Listener Bill S. Corbett wrote:

I'd like to hear some jazz!! I think we are missing this great music on this station!!!

And listener Cleve -- if I have that name right -- from Monkey Junction wrote:

So happy we'll be hearing an hour of Sacred Harp every day ... oh, wait. Never mind.

We’d love to hear from you on Friday Feedback, for your questions and comments, likes and dislikes about any aspect of the station. You can also send us feedback by filling out a Comment below, by sending us an email message or by calling our Feedback line: 910-292-WHQR (9477). And thanks for your feedback.