Gary Knell defends public funding in first day as NPR CEO


Neal Conan immediately started off an interview on "Talk of the Nation" by asking Gary Knell whether he expects federal funding of public radio to continue. Without public funding, Knell responded, some parts of the country would become "sort of news deserts, with newspapers and commercial radio stations abandoning serious news in many ways, that would be a bad thing for America. And I think that's a case that needs to be made to the Congress maybe more effectively." Asked if he will plan for the elimination of federal funding, he said, "I'm not going to count on anything. ... I think we've got to push forward and make the best case we possibly can and, you know, really push for the best and put our best foot forward. That's all we can do, and work like heck to try to secure that funding."

A few other outtakes:

  • Knell said it was a "fantastic idea" for NPR to look into selling the music it uses for transitions.
  • "We shouldn't rule out second-language programming — Spanish among them, Mandarin and other programming," he said.
  • "When newspapers and local commercial radio stations have abandoned, in many ways, informing the public about local and state issues, this is the time for local public radio."

A Twitter chat was less informative. (There are only 140 characters, after all.) "How do you respond to the criticism that @NPR has a liberal bias? Would you have fired Juan Williams?" someone asked. "I’m hearing a great mix of variety of stories, voices and views," Knell responded.

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


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