Questions About KUT's Programming

RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 30, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Thank you for the informative article about funding at KUT [“KUT by the Numbers,” News, Jan. 20]. One issue that was raised but could be addressed in more depth is the potential for corporate sponsors to influence programming. One that comes to mind is the pharmaceutical company Merck, which is advertised daily on the program The World. Merck is facing allegations that they misled the public about potential harmful side effects from some of their drugs, yet every evening an official-sounding person from The World reads an ad about how the company is working to protect the health of Americans. It is so pervasive that I associate the opening music of The World with the name Merck. If Merck were involved in an international scandal, would the content of reporting on The World be slanted because they are such a large donor?
    On another point, I turn off the radio when Latino USA comes on because I do not want to hear the news for one ethnic group. (Why not Arab-American USA, Irish-Catholic USA, etc.) The fact that such a high price is paid for this program suggests that the station may be responding to pressure to be “politically correct,” rather than using the funds to best serve the community.
    A final comment is that on Sunday the 15th, KUT ran a program by America Abroad Media about Evangelicals that I found to be one-sided. Basically, the narrator or a member of the public would raise a concern about Evangelicals and then some “expert” would talk about the good that they have done and continue to do around the world. No expert opinions with another perspective were presented. I sent an e-mail to the station and heard the next day from the program director, who said he would ask for a response from American Abroad. I don't recall ever hearing such a biased program on public radio.
Susan Pantell
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