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Cue Sheet – August 2012


Not long ago, Jacqueline Kain, Arizona Public Media's chief content officer, was chatting with me about possible improvements to and expansion of the arts coverage on Arizona Illustrated, starting early next year. All well and good for us insiders to concoct schemes, but perhaps you have some ideas of your own. What would you like to see in Arizona Illustrated's arts coverage? Comment below, but I ask two things of you. First, we're talking only about arts coverage; please direct your comments or questions or complaints about other aspects of the show elsewhere. Second, please just suggest things you'd actually watch; idealism is great, but what's good in theory isn't very useful if it leads to something you don't really care about. OK, go.



If you're wondering what I've been doing instead of blogging, one of the distractions has been a four-week course over which I'm presiding for the Arizona Senior Academy at Academy Village. It's called, grandly and half-facetiously, "The Decline and Fall of the Romantic Empire." Two classes down, two to go. Here's the scoop on the next installment.



The Boston public broadcasting station WGBH, which should be familiar to you as the source of a lot of what's been on PBS over the years, has taken over the public-radio program distributor PRI (Public Radio International), with which you'll be familiar if you listen to much on KUAZ, 89.1. The only reason I bring up this news, of interest mainly to broadcast insiders, is to help some of you figure out exactly what Classical 90.5 is and is not.

PRI, based in Minneapolis with a corporate genealogy that traces back to Minnesota Public Radio, is a completely separate entity from NPR, and in many ways NPR's competitor, producing or distributing most of the news/talk shows you hear on KUAZ that are not Morning Edition or All Things Considered. NPR, in turn, is distinct from PBS, which is a television network/cooperative. There's no such thing as a PBS radio station. And by the way, Classical 90.5 barely registers an NPR presence; the only NPR material you hear on the classical station is the set of five newscasts each weekday and some on the weekends. A Prairie Home Companion, once distributed by PRI, has been for several years a property of American Public Media (APM), the content distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR); most of the evening orchestral series are distributed by WFMT, a commercial classical radio station and syndicator in Chicago.

Even though some people used "Coke" some decades ago in reference to all soft drinks, you really shouldn't call Pepsi "Coke," and you shouldn't confuse NPR with PRI or WFMT or, above all, PBS. The safest shorthand way to refer to everything we do here at Arizona Public Media is "public broadcasting" (even though this Internet stuff doesn't really count as "broadcasting").

Now, if you're wondering what PRI does with classical music, take a look at and listen to this report on efforts to re-create the court orchestras at Versailles in the time of King Louis XIV.


About Cue Sheet

James Reel's cranky consideration of the fine arts and public radio in Tucson and beyond.