Vermont Public Radio is the most richly endowed media operation in the state. It sits securely atop the nonprofit world as well, and many nonprofits privately bemoan VPR’s ability to suck all the oxygen out of the room.
It does a lot of good stuff. But once again, it has taken a step that makes me question its civic-mindedness. We think of VPR as a news organization; but when you look at how it spends its time and resources, you have to conclude that what it really is, is a lifestyle brand for comfortable white folks. VPR has three primary functions, in this order:
1. Outlet for NPR and other network programming. Carriage fees eat up a large percentage of VPR’s budget.
2. Producer of infotainment programming aimed at those near the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy.
3. News organization.
The latest emission from Your Favorite Lifestyle Brand is a podcast entitled “But Why?” It’s a platform for children to submit questions about anything and everything, and provide engaging and easily digestible answers.
This follows VPR’s other recent infotainment initiatives: