Minding the business of public broadcasting

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A recent Vanity Fair article by long-time contributing editor David Margolick chronicles the struggles of stalwart radio giant National Public Radio in the U.S., calling into question whether the 27 million Americans who regularly listen to NPR are enough to justify its role as federally funded national broadcaster. Roughly 10 percent of NPR’s revenue comes – either directly or indirectly – from the Feds.

Turn the dial slightly north to Canada’s CBC and you will find that similar questions are arising as Conservative backbenchers demand financial details about CBC, including the salaries of Peter Mansbridge and CBC colleagues George Stroumboulopoulos and Rick Mercer. The questions come as potential Federal cuts in 2012 threaten to dramatically reduce our public broadcaster’s mandate to provide a wide range of programming in French and English with a mission to contribute to our national consciousness and identity.

For more on the perils of CBC becoming the NPR or the North, check out the Globe’s Kate Taylor’s story from last December.

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