Finding the BBC

I have lived in the US for around 10 months now, and it has only been in the last two weeks that I have finally found something that I wish I had known existed for a long time.  Well, you see I knew it existed, but I hadn't realised that I could get it on my car radio.  It's called NPR, or Public Radio, which is essentailly listener funded radio - Radio that plays without the advertisments that I so readily derised when I heard them day in and day out.

To call it like the BBC is close, because the channel, KUHF, or NPR for Houston, is essentailly BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3.  The first station, 88.7FM, is a news station for the times that I drive to and from work - in the morning they have opinion pieces, news reports, traffic and editorials akin to that of the morning commute on BBC Radio 4, and in the evening they have a similar program.  During the day, they also play the BBC World Service, with World Have Your Say and The World Today appearing on the station - very welcome to hear when driving around the town.  On 91.7FM they play classical music that is a quiet respite from the Rock and Country stations on the other frequencies.

The advantage that these stations have over the others is that they seem unbiased to my European ears, and remind of an American-accented version of the BBC Stations that I love, and I wish that I could get.  See, you can get BBC Radio here, and it's time shifted too, which means that if I wanted to listen to Chris Moyles in my car at 8am in the morning, I could - I wouldn't, of course, be listening to that odious idiot.  But my car doesn't have satellite radio at all (it barely has FM).  So I have to make do with the NPR which sounds like the radio I want, and does it in the way that I want it - commercial free.

Interestingly, NPR is something that the US citizen doesn't really agree with - like all things in the land of the Free, if it's free they don't want to be paying for it at all, no matter the route in which it is paid for.  So, unlike in the UK where we all pay for the use of the Radio and TV via the TV License, and we are quite happy to do it (or, at least, the most of us are, especially when we see the way TV is elsewhere in the world), the Americans do not. Even when only 2% of the funding of the NPR base is from Federal Grants, people are still actively worried about the editorial content of the stations.

See, in the US, you can broadcast politically partisan shows and opinions, unlike the UK- this why Fox News is seen as Republican and can broadcast bullshit-spouters such as Bill O'Riley and Glenn Beck without recourse (News Hounds being excellent at pulling their bullshit apart) and why when I look at my Apple Genius app recommendations, Apple suggest I download the Obama 2012 app because I have the CNN app on the iPad.  So people disagree over the way the NPR is funded, even to such a small amount, and even suggest that it's too liberal, at the same time suggesting it's too conservative.  This, unfortunately, is the way the US works - everyone's biased against you, no matter which side you are on.  And it's makes me want to pull my hair out.

and I miss it terribly.

But, for the next few weeks I will be forgoing listening to 5 tracks from albums in the car, and listening to the dulcet tones of All Things Considered and Morning Edition, and be happy that I finally found a station that I can listen to, agree and disagree with, and not be berated by various adverts every 6 minutes.

I'll take it.