Thanks to Rich Albertoni for shedding light on commercial radio's nonlocal "local" programming ("Distant Voices: Canned Radio Is the New Normal," 2/20/09).
Rich seems to imply that the rash of canned programs is due to the recent economic downturn. But I think this has been happening for years, mainly because of the mass acquisition of local stations by media corporations like Clear Channel. It's cheaper doing one program for everybody, no matter where.
A few years ago, a morning show I liked seemed "local." The hosts would even mention Madison a few times in their banter. Only later did I realize the show was broadcast from St. Louis!
There's one station in Madison that broadcasts almost all local programming. That, of course, is noncommercial WORT-FM. The article was not as timely as it could have been because it wasn't printed during WORT's most recent pledge drive.
Rich Albertoni: Your article is well written and contains useful information. But oddly, there is a bit of a contradiction.
After outlining and complaining how local radio stations have been outsourced to other locations, you supply the perspective of an academic to comment on the phenomenon. Out of the thousands of professors at UW-Madison and the hundreds at Edgewood College, MATC and Herzing, some of whom could have provided an insightful comment, who did you choose?
Someone from the University of California.
Denis Collins, Professor of business ethics, Edgewood College
We're not as dumb as they think
I'd like to add to Cecil Adams' well-crafted response to a letter asking if we Americans are as stupid as many people think ("Dumb and Dumber," 2/20/09).
For the past 40 years, I've been living and working with foreigners here and abroad. I have found that much of the criticism by foreigners is based on pure prejudice passed down in their cultures, not unlike the stereotypes against others that we foster ourselves.
In other countries, the more one smiles and giggles, the more likely one is to be judged an airhead. This is terribly unfair, as I am a victim of such judgment. My plan has always been to show them that one can be open and cheerful and brainy all at the same time.
The very first indication that we might be dumb is not our test scores. Other countries force-feed facts and don't encourage students to think. We are pitiful at facts, but we know how to reason and opinionate and invent.