One of the favorite targets of Tea Partiers and deficit hawks has been public broadcasting. They say it has a left-wing tilt, only serves the educated elite, and that government has no business funding the media in the first place.
Artist such as Wilco, Dr. Dog and Tom Waits respectfully disagree. And they’re putting their music where their mouth is, offering a free 16-track compilation to anyone who pledges support for public broadcasting.
A joint effort between the advocacy group 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting and Anti-Records, the label started last year by Wilco, the collection of songs is dubbed Raise Your Voice! It also featurs Neko Case, Mavis Staples, and Man Man, and can be downloaded at RYvoice.org.
From the Anti-Records website:
Public broadcasting offers millions of hours of free music, arts and cultural programming to American audiences, thanks in part to federal funding. From national music programs such as public television’s Austin City Limits and public radio’s Mountain Stage to the diverse local programming on public radio music stations throughout the country, public broadcasting is a vital part of our nation’s musical landscape.
Public stations are not run solely on federal funding – in fact, most of the larger ones are financially self-sufficient. But government support is is vital for keeping many of the smaller stations alive, particularly in rural areas.
And while crowding around the family radio isn’t a familiar picture to most these days, more than 100 local public radio stations broadcast music full-time. The Anti-Records website noted that public radio “ is one of the only places left where uniquely American music — jazz, rock, bluegrass and classical — can be heard by a mass audience.”
So even if “The Golden Age of Radio” is over. Even if the only ones sporting transistor radios are senior citizens and vintage-clad hipsters. Even if these 16 tracks will be heard on iPods more than airwaves. Even if streaming music like Turntable.fm and Spotify are the new fad. “Raise your Voice!” serves as a reminder that “in with the new” should not necessarily mean “out with the old.”