WBEZ's Marshmallow Fluff | Letters | Chicago Reader

WBEZ's Marshmallow Fluff 

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Dear editor:

Can Name Withheld and I be listening to the same WBEZ? In his/her letter ("Radio for Dummies," April 17 Letters section), the correspondent rails against an "idiotic" Eight Forty-Eight discussion on forest preserves, and then goes on to claim that the insidious impetus behind WBEZ's trend toward the "dumbing down" of public radio [Hot Type, February 20] is its politically correct attempt to create (in Eight Forty-Eight?) a "five-day-a-week prime-time program covering, almost exclusively, black cultural institutions and issues."

I'd love it if Name Withheld could provide me with an Eight Forty-Eight programming schedule, and please do me the courtesy of highlighting any segment run in the last two months that specifically focused on "black cultural" issues. Jan Coleman may be a black woman, but the new show seems ripe to the point of explosion with marshmallow fluff, glossing over almost any issue, whether "black" or "white." With the notable exception of some Studs Terkel pieces run honoring the anniversary of Dr. King's assassination, I have trouble recalling a recent morning where the proliferation of happy news has not driven me screaming to my radio dial, quickly switching off to avoid sure saccharine overdose.

I might remind Name Withheld that the one WBEZ show that truly was geared toward black cultural institutions and issues, A Richard Steele Friday, was bumped by 'BEZ in favor of the monolithic Eight Forty-Eight. Instead of including Steele's reports--needed in a city with such a huge black population--in its current format, Torey Malatia seems determined to initiate Steele into the new issue-free order through some sort of bizarre radio equivalent of a fraternity hazing: this very morning, Eight Forty-Eight ran a piece wherein Steele interviewed a Chicago woman entrepreneur who runs a business specializing in collecting "dog poop." Tell me, Name Withheld, would that be classified as a "brown" issue?

Stacey Earley

Lincoln Park


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