23 February 2006

Stomping Around with Big Feet

Nobody gets in the way of Minnesota Public Radio. Nobody.
Minnesota Public Radio is suing an Internet television network co-founded by Al Gore, claiming the network's alternative and amateur news reports interfere with MPR's trademark. The San Francisco-based network, "Current TV," and the MPR music station "The Current" are both transmitted via the Internet. MPR says the similar names creates confusion for potential consumers.
I recall a scene from Dr. Strangelove where General Ripper and Captain Mandrake were discussing prisoner-of-war torture at the hands of the WWII-era Japanese. Mandrake recalled, "I don't think they wanted me to talk really, I don't think they wanted me to say anything. (The torture) was just their way of having a bit of fun, the swines. Strange thing is they make such bloody good cameras."

There capsulizes my feelings about Minnesota Public Radio: It's a taxpayer-funded monopoly that's non-profit in name (and exemption status) only that operates with holier-than-thou attitude and heavy political hand. Strange thing is they have such a bloody great FM music station.

I'm not alone in this hold-my-nose and listen position:
Bill Kling took it upon himself to destroy the competition, buying WCAL and taking its programming off the air. Now, during MPR's pledge week, we have the Star Tribune story about Kling's half-million-dollar compensation package. As MPR pledge hucksters beg for donations, perhaps they could let us all know where the money goes. Sure, I listen to MPR, since, thanks to Kling, there is no longer an alternative, but Lucifer will traverse his realm on ice skates before I will even begin to consider pledging.
I also don't pledge. As a Saint Paul taxpayer, I'm perpetually on the hook for MPR's experiments in creative corporate finance, so I'm doing my part to prop them up as it is.

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