This week I was out fundraising and Friend-raising for Wisconsin Public Radio as part of my duties for their fundraising arm, Wisconsin Public Radio Association. I talked with donors about their love of WPR and how they could show it more love to keep it strong for the next hundred years. It made me think about my love affairs with radio.

I love public radio, both National Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Radio. But I’m not faithful; I also enjoy the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) as well. I became an adult as National Public Radio started up. I associate their news programs with balanced and thoughtful reporting. The jokes about “All Things Considered” being a little too long on the “all” never bothered me. The program about money, “Marketplace” “that they air is so well done I got interested in a subject that I didn’t think much about before—other than did I have enough!

I’ve moved around enough in my adulthood to have lived where public radio was good, Ames, IA and where public radio was almost absent, Scranton, PA. Wisconsin’s public radio has been on air for 100 years and is considered to be one of the best state-wide systems. Their program “To the Best of our Knowledge” is one of the most creative programs talking about big ideas I know. “Chapter a Day” has interested me in reading many books over the years. The readers of the books are so good and are a lovely change from the computer voice of most of my reading.

Then there’s BBC, broadcast on many public radio networks late at night. BBC has been criticized for being a tool of the British government, but it seems to cover both sides of British issues to this outsider. Also, it has more world news than National Public Radio, I think. It seems to me it is statelier or has more gravitas with its programs like “World Book Club”, “Thought for the Day” and “Prayer for the Day”.

The great news is that nowadays, we can have it all because of streaming online and podcasts. But like all good things, it costs money. Less and less tax dollars support public broadcasting. In Wisconsin, about 45% of the budget for public radio is individual contributions. Since this is not a pledge drive, I’ll quit there.

Enjoy good listening!