WBEZ has a 7 PM Hole: Time for As it Happens to Move Along

I, like many others married to people who live in different time zones, resort to solo dinners of cereal, Trader Joe’s pizzas and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I also listen to a lot of public radio. For the past few months, BEZ has followed Marketplace (for my money the best daily public radio show) with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s nightly magazine As It Happens. As I have mentioned before, I enjoyed listening in on the CBC’s reports on Canada’s winter elections as well their take on our odd country. But now that the elections are over and spring is in the air I humbly submit that it is time for BEZ to declare victory and move on. Frankly, I’ve had my fill of tales such as the one on Friday in which “an M-P from Labrador tells us how he’ll cook up the seal that he clubbed himself.” I am also no longer as amused by the whiff of northern superiority that prevails in much of their coverage.

So, as one of BEZ’s biggest fans, I take it upon myself to offer Torey Malatia and his crew suggestions on how to fill that Monday-Thursday 7 pm time slot. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Re-run Eight Forty-Eight, the BEZ-produced daily magazine show that airs at 9 am. (I’m usually listenting to WNYC’s Brian Lehrer at 9, when I can.)
  • Re-run Terry Gross’ Fresh Air.
  • I know its a bit Pacifica-ish, but why not try a different program each night. BEZ produces good programming– why not leverage it in prime time. Highlights culled by BEZ’s Third Coast Audience festival could air on Mondays, say. As I have noted a couple of times, BEZ, like the rest of the English language media, seemed to have missed the build up to the immigrant rights march: perhaps featuring Latino USA (currently “heard” Sunday at 5 am) on Tuesday might help make connections for the station and its audience. Why not move Ed Lifson’s Hello Beautiful, about the local art scene, into a prime time spot on Wednesday. Finally, Thursdays would be a good time to raise the profile of Sound Opinions, which I have enjoyed the few times I’ve come across it. (I know, it has a podcast.)

Meanwhile, kudos to BEZ and Joshua Andrews for using Flickr for the daily picture on its website. I like the openness to learning:

Each day, we feature a different photo on our home page. We’re a little new at using Flickr for this, so if you have any suggestions or comments about how to improve this process, let us know. Here are the submission guidelines.

– Shots that depict Chicagoland: the people, the neighborhoods, the sights
– The more recent, the better!
– Photos that don’t require captions
– Landscape orientation (i.e., horizontal)
– Pictures should be at least 440 pixels wide at 72 dpi.
– We may do a minor adjustments (contrast, brightness, color, etc.) as necessary
– In return, we offer a credit that can contain a link either to your Web site or e-mail address where folks can track you down.
You can always email us photos as well – photos@chicagopublicradio.org

5 thoughts on “WBEZ has a 7 PM Hole: Time for As it Happens to Move Along

  1. Wow,

    I found this because I was looking for some opera story for a co-worker from last night. I couldn’t agree with you more. There are about six Canadians in Chicago, and they moved here because they hated it there, and two women that seem to find it cute to go there alot. The show needs to go.

    Maybe if we donate enough we can take it over.

    Regards,

    J.C.

  2. “Pacifica-ish” or not, WBEZ did have a rolling weeknight slot back around 1990, and it worked pretty well to my ears, which is more than I can say for the station nowadays.

    I believe it was “Equal Time” with Joe Morris and Victoria Lautman at 7-8 p.m., followed by a grab-bag of the National Press Club and friends from 8 to 9 (Heather Woodbury’s “What Ever” even showed up). Hit-or-miss, to be sure, but it at least evaded dreariness.

    Then again, I suspect that if they tried something similar today, it would simply be an exercise in deploying such land mines as “The Music of Magnificent Obsession.”

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