Commentary

National Private Radio not likely

Might a huge gift cause NPR to turn away from public funds? Probably not: The question has been raised, [NPR Executive Vice President Ken] Stern acknowledges, whether the Kroc gift could lead legislators or individual donors to assume that NPR now needs less of their help. He hopes that’s not the case. “Ms. Kroc’s intention, I know, was that this be supplemental funding rather than replacement,” he says. “And as welcome and generous as the donation is, the annual income will represent only a small part of the public-radio budget.” Stern says NPR’s real hope is the opposite: that this donation will inspire more large gifts. It’s unclear whether “gifts” means private voluntary support or taxes. My guess is that NPR would like that distinction blurred.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.