Listening to music makes people happy. Listening to news makes people unhappy. Listening to fundraising drives makes people irritated and unhappy.
Let’s compare government-funded radio here in the U.S. and in Canada.
Public radio stations all over the U.S. have been cutting down on music and substituting news programs. In the rare event that they still have a music or entertainment program, it will be interrupted every 10 minutes while they ask for money and tell you how great public radio is. Their digital terrestrial stream (“HD radio”) will be 96 kbps and their Internet stream will be about the same. Americans who are fed up with this and just want to hear music subscribe to Sirius or XM and pay $300+ per year to hear radio in their car and their house at… 64 kbps! That’s the same as an ISDN telephone line!
Canada, by contrast, has public radio stations that live within their means. Whatever they get from the government is what they use for their budget. They don’t constantly ask listeners for money. The Internet streams are 192 kbps, 1.5x the bitrate of the iTunes that Apple sells. What do they play on these stations? Music, interrupted very occasionally for station identification. Check it out at http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/ (CBC Jazz has found much more favor in our household than Sirius jazz stations). These streams work great throughout a house on a Sonos system.
As long as our government is spending another trillion dollars or two, would it be too much to ask for a few all-music free non-commercial radio stations? Like the passengers on the Titanic, shouldn’t we have dance music right up until the ship sinks?