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There's a party in my car every morning on the way to pre-school and childcare. We turn up "Dancing Queen," boogie under our seatbelts and make up words as we go along. It's the easiest way to get my two little ones excited about climbing into their carseats.  After the drop offs, I say goodbye to ABBA and turn on the morning news radio, usually NPR.  I've always loved the breadth and depth of news covered there and blessed absence of annoying ads.  So after years of listening and learning, I made my first-ever donation to public radio last week.  Yes! I was making a tangible contribution to high-quality journalism.

And then this morning I got hit with the bad news: My local public television station, KQED-TV, may be considering cancelling PBS' "To the Contrary," the only woman-owned show on national TV and the most diverse news program on PBS or for that matter, on any network. AND the only serious discussion show that talks regularly and often about issues confronting mothers. The show's purview includes issues affecting women, families and communities of color, and the panelists constantly talk about ways to identify and meet the fundamental needs of women and families.

This intelligent show featuring issues that actually affect me might be getting cancelled?  Right after I donated?  This is a big disappointment as a consumer who felt confident enough in the integrity of my local public media to invest personal dollars in it. But it's more than a personal loss. Our media suffers from a systemic lack of representation by women.  We shouldn't be cutting back on women-led media right now, we should be moving forward.  According to the Women's Media Center:

  • Women hold only 3% of clout positions in the mainstream media
  • 87% of general news radio managers are men
  • 13% are women

Stats like these show why having "To the Contrary" is important both for my local area and for the rest of the country. I know there's a budget crunch in listener-supported media. I can't count how many times I've listened to the coaxing and cajoling of the pledge drives. (Yes, I vaguely feared Ira Glass would call me at home and publicly shame me into donating.) But the fact is, intelligent shows featuring women speaking for ourselves are too few and far between. We can't afford to NOT have them on the air.

If you live in the Bay Area, please call or email KQED president John Boland at 415-553-2301 and jboland@kqed.org, and say, "Make sure to keep "To the Contrary" on the air!"  Thank you!


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