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locked Wisconsin Public Radio Ends OTR Broadcast Saying, "It's Racist and Sexist"

Pastor Gary
 

I don't chime in often, but I feel compelled to speak up for this bit of news.

06/20/2020 - Wisconsin Public Radio produced and broadcasted a radio show called "Old Time Radio Drama" for many decades.  It formerly aired on Saturday and Sundays from 8:00-11:00 PM.  Their long-running and popular radio program has now been canceled and the archives removed from the WPR website because it "include[s] racist and sexist materials.".

Here's what they have to say at this link:

"While schedule changes can be difficult, now is the right time to end this program," said Mike Crane, WPR director. "Many of these plays and productions were produced more than 60 years ago and include racist and sexist material.   Despite significant efforts over the years, it has been nearly impossible to find historic programs without offensive and outdated content. And, ultimately, these programs don’t represent the values of WPR and The Ideas Network’s focus on public service through news and information."

It's getting crazy out there and it makes me wonder just how soon they'll be coming for my collection of "racist and sexist" OTR?

Are we next and which OTR resource might succumb to this movement in the future???

Do we just let this happen, or do we somehow speak out?

Gary

Scott Galley
 

At the risk of sounding rude, which is most assuredly not my intention, this topic could dovetail into the arena of politics, which I'm sure most of us would love to keep out of this forum. I for one, don't want to know the political views of the members on this forum. Pro or con, it can colour the option and leave a bad stain, which, in these turbulent times is difficult to wash away.

Suffice it to say, there are more than enough avenues to listen to and collect Golden Age Radio without having to resort to Public Radio, which, by it's very nature, has to sway with the prevailing winds. This I can say with authority, as I work for a Public Broadcaster.

Scott


Larry Maupin
 

Hello Pastor Gary,

Your post is extremely interesting and informative and I'm glad you shared this information, which I would not have known otherwise.  

I have been reluctant to post anything here on Amos 'n' Andy because even though I think the program is sweet and funny, and even though it was once so popular that theaters interrupted movies that were showing all across the country to pipe in that day's episode of the show, I have been afraid of offending other members who might consider the program to be racist.  Will the day come when all episodes of Amos 'n' Andy will be banned from radio as it has apparently already been banned from television?  And the even larger question, is the program indeed racist and therefore should it  be "retired"?

As for Wisconsin Public Radio's explanation for cancelling "Old Time Radio Drama" and removing the entire program from its archives, I think that it sad and ridiculous.

Any time members of this group want to hear a great OTR program with a variety of shows, an affable and knowledgeable host and fantastic music, I recommend any episode of Same Time, Same Station, many of which are in the OTRR Library collection.

Larry. 

-----------------------------------------

From: "Pastor Gary"
To: main@oldtimeradioresearchers.groups.io
Cc:
Sent: Tuesday June 23 2020 7:16:01AM
Subject: [OldTimeRadioResearchers] Wisconsin Public Radio Ends OTR Broadcast Saying, "It's Racist and Sexist"

I don't chime in often, but I feel compelled to speak up for this bit of news.

06/20/2020 - Wisconsin Public Radio produced and broadcasted a radio show called "Old Time Radio Drama" for many decades.  It formerly aired on Saturday and Sundays from 8:00-11:00 PM.  Their long-running and popular radio program has now been canceled and the archives removed from the WPR website because it "include[s] racist and sexist materials.".

Here's what they have to say at this link:

"While schedule changes can be difficult, now is the right time to end this program," said Mike Crane, WPR director. "Many of these plays and productions were produced more than 60 years ago and include racist and sexist material.   Despite significant efforts over the years, it has been nearly impossible to find historic programs without offensive and outdated content. And, ultimately, these programs don’t represent the values of WPR and The Ideas Network’s focus on public service through news and information."

It's getting crazy out there and it makes me wonder just how soon they'll be coming for my collection of "racist and sexist" OTR?

Are we next and which OTR resource might succumb to this movement in the future???

Do we just let this happen, or do we somehow speak out?

Gary

--
Larry Maupin

adam
 

Gary,

 

I think you raise a legitimate concern.

 

Anyone who’s listened to any amount of old time radio knows their some content that’s blatantly racist or sexist, and probably not suited for broadcast over the air in 2020, and quite a bit more that is a bit borderline and cringe,  but Wisconsin Public Radio’s statement is stunning for the breadth of its ignorance and its wholesale condemnation of all Old Time Radio.  They could probably decide during these time to play episodes of Destination Freedom or New World A Coming during this time instead.

 

However, I don’t think, at this point, anyone is coming for our personal collections in the immediate future. Although, one never know when angry mobs get started where they will stop.

 

I think that any radio station that plays Old Time Radio currently may be tempted, although I think commercial radio stations are at risk of it less than public radio with its own sort of culture. The main people hurt WPIR’s decision are the less technically savvy folks who rely on them.

 

The question at the end is problematic. I don’t think our speaking out would prevent the decision from occurring. If you live in Wisconsin and you listened to the program, you can certainly drop a letter, and decide not to pledge to the station again.  But a bunch of people who don’t live in Wisconsin opining, not sure what that’s supposed to do.

 

Like Scott, I don’t really want us to get political on this. I don’t see what good a statement from OTRR or any other old time radio source would do at this point, other than embroiling us in a controversy.

 

Yet, I think we have to at least among ourselves, acknowledge a problem with Wisconsin Public Radio’s statement in that it frames all old time radio as sexist and racist. That sort of attitude will make preservation of Old Time Radio and promotion of the hobby to future generations harder. Certainly, I’ve never hesitated in sharing my interest in old time radio, but I do have to wonder if at some point in the near future, to some ears, I might as well be expressing an interest in Confederate Flag collecting.

 

There is a spirit of intolerance in the air. It doesn’t care about what other people think, what historical context is or was, and has no respect for what came before. Its judgment is harsh and without mercy. Currently, old time radio is on the fringe of this spirit’s interest and influence and we can hope it burns itself out soon.

 

However, while I understand and share the extent too not get into politics with old time radio, I have to wonder what happens when politics decides to take an interest in us.

 

It’s a chilling thought.

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Pastor Gary
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 5:16 AM
To: main@oldtimeradioresearchers.groups.io
Subject: [OldTimeRadioResearchers] Wisconsin Public Radio Ends OTR Broadcast Saying, "It's Racist and Sexist"

 

I don't chime in often, but I feel compelled to speak up for this bit of news.

 

06/20/2020 - Wisconsin Public Radio produced and broadcasted a radio show called "Old Time Radio Drama" for many decades.  It formerly aired on Saturday and Sundays from 8:00-11:00 PM.  Their long-running and popular radio program has now been canceled and the archives removed from the WPR website because it "include[s] racist and sexist materials.".

 

Here's what they have to say at this link:

 

"While schedule changes can be difficult, now is the right time to end this program," said Mike Crane, WPR director. "Many of these plays and productions were produced more than 60 years ago and include racist and sexist material.   Despite significant efforts over the years, it has been nearly impossible to find historic programs without offensive and outdated content. And, ultimately, these programs don’t represent the values of WPR and The Ideas Network’s focus on public service through news and information."

 

It's getting crazy out there and it makes me wonder just how soon they'll be coming for my collection of "racist and sexist" OTR?

 

Are we next and which OTR resource might succumb to this movement in the future???

 

Do we just let this happen, or do we somehow speak out?

 

Gary

 

Scott Galley
 

There is no doubt we're living in a time when the desire to condemn the past and hide it away is an easier solution to the new chattering classes than to contextualize it and attempt to understand and/or enjoy it for what it is, at least with regard to radio, music and film; both as an entertainment and a window into the past.

There is no doubt that much is cringe-worthy from a 21st century perspective, but to view the past through a modern lens exclusively is to engage in 'presentism'. With this kind of approach (to quote Wikipedia), which emphasizes the relevance of history to the present, things that do not seem relevant receive little attention, which results in a misleading portrayal of the past. Which is why 'Destination Freedom' wouldn't receive airplay, sadly.

And to reiterate, just so that no one gets angry, I was in no way attempting to mussel Gary's thoughts or concerns with regard to Wisconsin Public Radio. A letter voicing objection may be the most rational approach. I just hope that we don't get too sidetracked with these sort of subjects, because I suspect that we're just a the tip of the iceberg when it come to a wholesale condemnation of the past.

Scott

Ryan Ellett
 

This topic absolutely exploded on the Facebook group last week when it was announced. There were a lot of vitriolic comments, insults, and people leaving. Moderators had to shut down numerous threads. Hopefully comments will remain civil here over the fact that one single radio station decided to stop playing old time radio.
Ryan

www.RyanEllett.com


The Old Time Radio Researchers
"Saving the Past for the Future"

www.OTRR.org
www.OTRRLibrary.org



On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 06:16:01 AM CDT, Pastor Gary <geverest@...> wrote:


I don't chime in often, but I feel compelled to speak up for this bit of news.

06/20/2020 - Wisconsin Public Radio produced and broadcasted a radio show called "Old Time Radio Drama" for many decades.  It formerly aired on Saturday and Sundays from 8:00-11:00 PM.  Their long-running and popular radio program has now been canceled and the archives removed from the WPR website because it "include[s] racist and sexist materials.".

Here's what they have to say at this link:

"While schedule changes can be difficult, now is the right time to end this program," said Mike Crane, WPR director. "Many of these plays and productions were produced more than 60 years ago and include racist and sexist material.   Despite significant efforts over the years, it has been nearly impossible to find historic programs without offensive and outdated content. And, ultimately, these programs don’t represent the values of WPR and The Ideas Network’s focus on public service through news and information."

It's getting crazy out there and it makes me wonder just how soon they'll be coming for my collection of "racist and sexist" OTR?

Are we next and which OTR resource might succumb to this movement in the future???

Do we just let this happen, or do we somehow speak out?

Gary

Pastor Gary
 

Hey All,

I did call WPR to voice my concerns, I felt I had the right to.  Why, because for many years, more than twenty, I 've given $500 per year, during WPR's fundraisers, directly to the locally produced WPR radio program "Old Time Radio Drama."  Only to tune in on Saturday, June 20th, 2020 to find the show missing from WPR's normal lineup.

The woman who took my call was very cordial and but also very woke and obviously concerned with virtue signaling.  I heard this when she expressed surprise that anyone would rise to support, in her words, "That racial and sexist garbage produced by white supremacists."

She then went on to inform me that many younger voices have expressed serious concerns over the racially charged nature of programs like Fiber McGee & Molly, Duffy's Tavern, Our Miss Brooks, Have Gun Will Travel, The Jack Beny Show, The Lone Ranger, Amos 'n Andy, Charlie Chan...  It seemed to me she was reading from what could be a very long list, so I interrupted her and asked with tongue-in-cheek if they also intended to ban the 1949 NBC University Theater and the1953 United States Steel Hour productions of George Orwell's prophetic tome1984.

She thought I was serious and told me that although that particular show did not come into the decision to end their production, she had heard that Wells' 1984 was being pulled from the University's libraries because "It offers an unrealistic and dystopian view of the future that cannot be allowed into the public arena."

Okay, I get they're offended. But, where does this lead?  Do we just erase all of our history and just like in 1984 no one remembers history- tomorrow there is no history?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am scared of what comes next- what replaces our history?.

Gary

On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 10:24 AM Scott Galley via groups.io <scottgalley=mac.com@groups.io> wrote:
There is no doubt we're living in a time when the desire to condemn the past and hide it away is an easier solution to the new chattering classes than to contextualize it and attempt to understand and/or enjoy it for what it is, at least with regard to radio, music and film; both as an entertainment and a window into the past.

There is no doubt that much is cringe-worthy from a 21st century perspective, but to view the past through a modern lens exclusively is to engage in 'presentism'. With this kind of approach (to quote Wikipedia), which emphasizes the relevance of history to the present, things that do not seem relevant receive little attention, which results in a misleading portrayal of the past. Which is why 'Destination Freedom' wouldn't receive airplay, sadly.

And to reiterate, just so that no one gets angry, I was in no way attempting to mussel Gary's thoughts or concerns with regard to Wisconsin Public Radio. A letter voicing objection may be the most rational approach. I just hope that we don't get too sidetracked with these sort of subjects, because I suspect that we're just a the tip of the iceberg when it come to a wholesale condemnation of the past.

Scott

Pastor Gary
 

Ryan, I didn't see the Facebook discussion and am sorry that it got out of control.

That being said it's far more that one radio station, it's WPR's 41 radio stations that cover the entire state of Wisconsin, parts of Minnesota and the UP of Michigan, that's where I first listened to WPR and Old Time Radio Drama.  Plus it also affected their iPhone and Android app users, which I am now from West Virginia, and there are over one-hundred thousand of us around the world.  At least according to Google Play and the App Store.



Gary


On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 11:01 AM Ryan Ellett via groups.io <oldradiotimes=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
This topic absolutely exploded on the Facebook group last week when it was announced. There were a lot of vitriolic comments, insults, and people leaving. Moderators had to shut down numerous threads. Hopefully comments will remain civil here over the fact that one single radio station decided to stop playing old time radio.
Ryan



The Old Time Radio Researchers
"Saving the Past for the Future"




On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 06:16:01 AM CDT, Pastor Gary <geverest@...> wrote:


I don't chime in often, but I feel compelled to speak up for this bit of news.

06/20/2020 - Wisconsin Public Radio produced and broadcasted a radio show called "Old Time Radio Drama" for many decades.  It formerly aired on Saturday and Sundays from 8:00-11:00 PM.  Their long-running and popular radio program has now been canceled and the archives removed from the WPR website because it "include[s] racist and sexist materials.".

Here's what they have to say at this link:

"While schedule changes can be difficult, now is the right time to end this program," said Mike Crane, WPR director. "Many of these plays and productions were produced more than 60 years ago and include racist and sexist material.   Despite significant efforts over the years, it has been nearly impossible to find historic programs without offensive and outdated content. And, ultimately, these programs don’t represent the values of WPR and The Ideas Network’s focus on public service through news and information."

It's getting crazy out there and it makes me wonder just how soon they'll be coming for my collection of "racist and sexist" OTR?

Are we next and which OTR resource might succumb to this movement in the future???

Do we just let this happen, or do we somehow speak out?

Gary

Richard Davenport
 

Things are going crazy right now with the Black/White thing.  Things that happened more than a century ago are being brought to light as if they are a current problem.  It is insane and rediculous and assenine.   It is being blown way out of porportion.  It is almost as if we are reverting back to the McCarthyism era of everyone is a Communist sympathizer.  This is pushing political correctness BS to whole new levels of stupidity.   I personally have no problem if someone wants to flap a sign around but start looting and commiting problems and you get a bullet.    If you don't like the country.  PLEASE LEAVE!!

Rick
Labor ipse voluptas


On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 10:57:31 AM CDT, Pastor Gary <geverest@...> wrote:


Ryan, I didn't see the Facebook discussion and am sorry that it got out of control.

That being said it's far more that one radio station, it's WPR's 41 radio stations that cover the entire state of Wisconsin, parts of Minnesota and the UP of Michigan, that's where I first listened to WPR and Old Time Radio Drama.  Plus it also affected their iPhone and Android app users, which I am now from West Virginia, and there are over one-hundred thousand of us around the world.  At least according to Google Play and the App Store.



Gary

On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 11:01 AM Ryan Ellett via groups.io <oldradiotimes=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
This topic absolutely exploded on the Facebook group last week when it was announced. There were a lot of vitriolic comments, insults, and people leaving. Moderators had to shut down numerous threads. Hopefully comments will remain civil here over the fact that one single radio station decided to stop playing old time radio.
Ryan



The Old Time Radio Researchers
"Saving the Past for the Future"




On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 06:16:01 AM CDT, Pastor Gary <geverest@...> wrote:


I don't chime in often, but I feel compelled to speak up for this bit of news.

06/20/2020 - Wisconsin Public Radio produced and broadcasted a radio show called "Old Time Radio Drama" for many decades.  It formerly aired on Saturday and Sundays from 8:00-11:00 PM.  Their long-running and popular radio program has now been canceled and the archives removed from the WPR website because it "include[s] racist and sexist materials.".

Here's what they have to say at this link:

"While schedule changes can be difficult, now is the right time to end this program," said Mike Crane, WPR director. "Many of these plays and productions were produced more than 60 years ago and include racist and sexist material.   Despite significant efforts over the years, it has been nearly impossible to find historic programs without offensive and outdated content. And, ultimately, these programs don’t represent the values of WPR and The Ideas Network’s focus on public service through news and information."

It's getting crazy out there and it makes me wonder just how soon they'll be coming for my collection of "racist and sexist" OTR?

Are we next and which OTR resource might succumb to this movement in the future???

Do we just let this happen, or do we somehow speak out?

Gary

C. Nava
 

It’s like banning Huck Finn or going after Howard Duff during the Red scare: ridiculous and pointless moves designed to placate the noisiest group. When did we start giving in to social terrorists?


From: main@OldTimeRadioResearchers.groups.io <main@OldTimeRadioResearchers.groups.io> on behalf of Richard Davenport <klingon1@...>
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 10:17:30 AM
To: main@OldTimeRadioResearchers.groups.io <main@OldTimeRadioResearchers.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [OldTimeRadioResearchers] Wisconsin Public Radio Ends OTR Broadcast Saying, "It's Racist and Sexist"
 
Things are going crazy right now with the Black/White thing.  Things that happened more than a century ago are being brought to light as if they are a current problem.  It is insane and rediculous and assenine.   It is being blown way out of porportion.  It is almost as if we are reverting back to the McCarthyism era of everyone is a Communist sympathizer.  This is pushing political correctness BS to whole new levels of stupidity.   I personally have no problem if someone wants to flap a sign around but start looting and commiting problems and you get a bullet.    If you don't like the country.  PLEASE LEAVE!!

Rick
Labor ipse voluptas


On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 10:57:31 AM CDT, Pastor Gary <geverest@...> wrote:


Ryan, I didn't see the Facebook discussion and am sorry that it got out of control.

That being said it's far more that one radio station, it's WPR's 41 radio stations that cover the entire state of Wisconsin, parts of Minnesota and the UP of Michigan, that's where I first listened to WPR and Old Time Radio Drama.  Plus it also affected their iPhone and Android app users, which I am now from West Virginia, and there are over one-hundred thousand of us around the world.  At least according to Google Play and the App Store.



Gary

On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 11:01 AM Ryan Ellett via groups.io <oldradiotimes=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
This topic absolutely exploded on the Facebook group last week when it was announced. There were a lot of vitriolic comments, insults, and people leaving. Moderators had to shut down numerous threads. Hopefully comments will remain civil here over the fact that one single radio station decided to stop playing old time radio.
Ryan



The Old Time Radio Researchers
"Saving the Past for the Future"




On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 06:16:01 AM CDT, Pastor Gary <geverest@...> wrote:


I don't chime in often, but I feel compelled to speak up for this bit of news.

06/20/2020 - Wisconsin Public Radio produced and broadcasted a radio show called "Old Time Radio Drama" for many decades.  It formerly aired on Saturday and Sundays from 8:00-11:00 PM.  Their long-running and popular radio program has now been canceled and the archives removed from the WPR website because it "include[s] racist and sexist materials.".

Here's what they have to say at this link:

"While schedule changes can be difficult, now is the right time to end this program," said Mike Crane, WPR director. "Many of these plays and productions were produced more than 60 years ago and include racist and sexist material.   Despite significant efforts over the years, it has been nearly impossible to find historic programs without offensive and outdated content. And, ultimately, these programs don’t represent the values of WPR and The Ideas Network’s focus on public service through news and information."

It's getting crazy out there and it makes me wonder just how soon they'll be coming for my collection of "racist and sexist" OTR?

Are we next and which OTR resource might succumb to this movement in the future???

Do we just let this happen, or do we somehow speak out?

Gary

Bob Stepno
 

"... ultimately, these programs don’t represent the values of WPR and The Ideas Network’s focus on public service through news and information."

Not being from Wisconsin, I have never heard this program, but if old-time radio shows were simply being presented as inexpensive filler, and all the production effort went into finding "safe" material, I can see how the statement above would be true. 

To represent "Public Service news and information values," old radio would have to be presented as history lessons with discussion of cultural context (gender roles, portrayal of ethnic, racial and political groups, etc.), but that would cost the station time and production money that might be better spent covering local news and contemporary issues.

Maybe the Wisconsin program already made some attempt in that direction, but wasn't able to do it well enough or enthusiastically enough to continue. I don't know. If a Wisconsin old time radio club wanted to offer a frame for such a series, that might be a solution.

I wonder whether any other statewide Public Radio organizations have such an offering? (Apologies if I am jumping into the middle of the discussion that has been going on for a while, I am behind on my email and just using a smartphone to catch up, so I can't do much backtracking without going cross-eyed.)

Bob in the Blue Ridge 

Pastor Gary
 

Bob, the host Norman Gilliland really made the shows come alive.  He would intro each show with some facts about the actors, the sponsor, the writers, the producer, the singer/band, or even the foley people and how they made specific sounds happen.  Norm would inform the listener if it was a repeat show from the same series or had already been produced by a different show.  If the show was a repeat he would talk about how the script might have been changed from one production to the next and if the actors changed he would tell why they changed actors.  And he would always give some bit about the sponsor if the program still had its commercials.  And before each show began he would give a clue as to the plot and then a summation at the end of the show.

Yeah, there must have been some show selection based upon content going on behind the scenes.  I say this because some time in the early 90s Norm stopped playing Amos 'n' Andy.  And then a few years back he was playing 6 episodes of Jack Benny Christmas programs back to back and he felt it necessary to spend 5 minutes explaining Rochester in-depth culturally.

I enjoyed and supported WPR's Old Time Radio Drama production for decades and will need to find something else to do with my Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Here's another thought.  I just gave WPR $500 in April, as I do every year, specifically for the production of the show Old Time Radio Drama.  I wonder I could ask them for a refund?  I'll bet they won't give me my money back.

Gary


On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 2:57 PM Bob Stepno <Rstepno@...> wrote:
"... ultimately, these programs don’t represent the values of WPR and The Ideas Network’s focus on public service through news and information."

Not being from Wisconsin, I have never heard this program, but if old-time radio shows were simply being presented as inexpensive filler, and all the production effort went into finding "safe" material, I can see how the statement above would be true. 

To represent "Public Service news and information values," old radio would have to be presented as history lessons with discussion of cultural context (gender roles, portrayal of ethnic, racial and political groups, etc.), but that would cost the station time and production money that might be better spent covering local news and contemporary issues.

Maybe the Wisconsin program already made some attempt in that direction, but wasn't able to do it well enough or enthusiastically enough to continue. I don't know. If a Wisconsin old time radio club wanted to offer a frame for such a series, that might be a solution.

I wonder whether any other statewide Public Radio organizations have such an offering? (Apologies if I am jumping into the middle of the discussion that has been going on for a while, I am behind on my email and just using a smartphone to catch up, so I can't do much backtracking without going cross-eyed.)

Bob in the Blue Ridge 

m@...
 

Enough is enough

I can not take it anymore!!!
They are trying to...... no, what I mean they are erasing our past, our history, they want to crash everything, the good and the bad and most important all the changes we made to have a more perfect union.
Please, stand up, they waited for years, this is their perfect storm.
Please stand up!
Old Time Radio will not disappear without a fight.

AT