Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dear NPR, please don't become Discovery Channel

I used to love the Discovery Channel.  I watched it as a kid and started watching it even more when Mike Rowe came in with Dirty Jobs and the Adam and Jamie showed up with the Mythbusters.  While I don't necessarily agree with everything the MB do, I appreciate how they get the younger ones interested in science and engineering.  That being said, I wish someone would teach them statistics....among other things.  My heart really lies with Dirty Jobs though.  Mike Rowe's personality mixed with the content makes it one of my favorite shows.

When I saw that Dirty Jobs was cancelled it broke my heart, but to me it signalled something different: Discovery Channel needs to fill this massively great show.  They have been filling it with basically the TV show equivalent of click-bait: horrible shows to get viewers one time.  The network it not good now, and that upsets me.  Once the network figured out a recipe that works: crazy experiments and explosions with a dash of bad science equals ratings.  They've been taking a a quantity over quality tactic.  I'm concerned that they'll just creating more and more shows therefore diluting the brand.

NPR has been coming out with a lot of shows lately.  I hear about a new podcast roughly every single week.  And so far, I've been liking it: Snap Judgment is a relatively newer show that I love, and Serial exploded with popularity.  It seems like every few months though, my favorite podcasts like Radio Lab and This American Life are plugging newer shows on NPR.  So far, they've been interesting; I just ask you, NPR, PRI, or whatever, to make sure the quality of your flagship shows don't get diluted with newer shows.  I don't suspect it will happen, I just worry a lot about my entertainment.  Unrelated to anything academic or industry....just a quick thought since I've been listening to a lot of podcasts in my travels.

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