I’m cheered to see The Rio Grande Guardian informing readers of public radio’s connection to education, critical thinking, and expanding community horizons. 

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is essential to all American public radio and TV station programming, yet most people (even life-long public broadcasting-consumers have little insight to its purpose.

Every day, Texas Public Radio and hundreds of other station listeners hear “NPR is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and these sponsors.” Then a list of additional funders is announced, some familiar, some not.

Point is: Any community wanting to have public radio and TV will benefit from the work of this mysterious quasi-federal agency.

According to W.F. Strong, Texas storyteller and Communication Department Professor at UTRGV, action is afoot at Brownsville’s end of the Valley to get a new Low Power FM (LPFM) license at the Brownsville campus. I think this makes good sense as licenses for these stations are being picked up by municipal, school, non-profit, and other community groups nationwide with minimal costs.

With the Valley’s last open, American FM frequency taken by the new Classic Rock station in Harlingen, LPFMs (1000 watts), with about 10-mile coverage, offer opportunity to link NPR, Texas Public Radio, and/or regional news links over a Valley-wide network of low-power stations. To do this Grassroots Public Radio-RGV must get it’s message in front of RGV readers in all media, including The Monitor and local TV stations.

With online national and local services originating in other places online – NPR itself, local NPR station websites such as KLRN-FM, podcasts, Sirius XM’s NPR, Public Radio International (PRX), and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) services – RGV’s National Public Radio affiliate can serve a broader purpose: Local flavor is missing from online public radio sources, and that’s the compelling argument for returning NPR to RGV.

In all over the air broadcasting – commercial and public — open-minded local news-gathering makes for loyal listening.

RGV is so diverse it should have more than one public station, yet focus, courage and vision bordering on the obsessed is needed to get one.

Marginalized ethnicities, tools for education, and types of music heard nowhere else are on NPR News and stations. When RGV’s radio-audience — regular folks in addition to The Rio Grande Guardian — become extraordinarily vocal on gaining a less-biased, local media voice, a new NPR station may happen. 

To familiarize with NPR’s sound, principles, and programming folks can find it on the web. After sampling folks can consider how powerful NPR-style coverage of RGV people, places, and issues could be.

This is a way to start, as people who do not know what they do not know miss out on a dynamic alternative to commercial radio. Like PBS on TV, NPR gives users cool, stimulating, thoughtful, mind-boggling ideas via probing reporting and exploration of uncommon topics, all with minimal interruptions.

My friend Ruben of McAllen told me this: “My kids were raised on public radio. Now they’re grown-ups with their own families. I am amazed at how that (NPR) made them profoundly open-minded.”

This is my experience also. As a Winter Texan, I know the Valley strives to be the wonderful place it is to raise families. National Public Radio stations make great places even better. I call on all who seek a local and balanced radio dial to get NPR here for our future Rio Grande Valley home.


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