The past and the future of Wisconsin Public Radio

Just back from visiting an Open House event at Vilas Hall studios

Joy Cardin broadcasts 6am-9am weekdays.

where some of my heroes do their work.

I found out that the first Wisconsin Public Radio broadcast was a morse code weather report for farmers first broadcast in 1918. The morse code was transcribed and posted in public and in many Wisconsin locations, an operator would transcribe the report and call farmers personally to deliver the weather news. That show evolved into a 30 minute farm report, which would later evolve into Larry Meiller’s show. This is why his is the longest running radio show in the nation at 92 years!

I was able to thank Michael Feldman for his story Madison: the Election at Home in person. And he was able to tell me he feels sad for Russ Feingold. More than one audience member was very thankful for WPR’s great journalism, and Norm Gilliland had some true Old Time Radio fans in the house.

As for the future of WPR, a web site overhaul is in the works. It will  offer more ways for them to push stories and music at you – assuming you opt-in to that. And they will be providing more news through two additional employees to come on at the La Crosse and Eau Claire stations.

I sat through 4 discussion panels, and the repeated themes brought up by the  audience were, “We’re worried about the future of public radio given our new Republican leadership” and “We are so glad to have public radio”.

Our state’s public radio service was an important window to the world when I was growing up in rural Northern Wisconsin in that time BEFORE we had satellite, cable, and internet.  I am also so glad we have our public radio.

To find Michael Feldman’s blogging, you can try him HERE or on his Whad ‘Ya Know facebook notes page.

The whole City of Madison is on suicide watch

I have a lovely and formal postmortem on Feingold’s race that I can’t finish because it makes me sad.  So instead, here’s the wry writing of Michael Feldman:

“…No sainthood without martyrdom, they say, but the sting of losing our patron saint, Russ Feingold, is still too fresh, even after a numbing campaign which stressed that no one would sit next to him in the Senate cafeteria. There could be a lot of reasons for that. Russ was the quintessential liberal, habitually voting against his own principles on principle. He lost to a guy named Ron Johnson, the third most common name in Wisconsin (the first being John Johnson, and the second, Jim Johnson) whose major qualification was that he rhymed with Wisconsin. That and that everybody thinks they might be related to him. Being a United States Senator can’t be that different from running a plastics factory—both involve extrusion.”

from Madison: The Election at Home

And then, just one of the many good thoughts from Karoli’s  “Blame Hall of Fame” : “So we pick ourselves off, dust off, and give bipartisanship the same wink and nod as the Republicans do…which is to say, it’s dead, dead, dead, deader than a doornail.”

Image from puroticorico of flickr. Creative Commons Use.