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Readers who may have been baffled by the virulence of Randall Bloomquist’s attack on Diane Rehm (“Too Much of the Goodness Thing,” 8/2) might understand better if they saw a version of the same story Bloomquist published in Radio and Records, a publication aimed at the commercial radio industry. The headline gives you a hint of what’s coming: “Diane Rehm: NPR’s Darling Is After Your Audience.”
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As in the Washington City Paper article, Bloomquist goes on to excoriate The Diane Rehm Show because, among other things, 1.) Diane takes her work seriously, 2.) the mainstream press likes her, 3.) she has prominent guests, and 4.) people listen. This last point seems most grating to Bloomquist, who is forced to admit that The Diane Rehm Show enjoys a 4.4 rating, which would be the envy of many a commercial station. (Undaunted, Bloomquist says “the show would be death on a commercial station.” If so, look for a lot of commercial stations to die soon.) His relief is palpable when he reports that Howard Stern beats her with a 7.7 share and G. Gordon Liddy does the same with a 5.4.
You see, in the world Bloomquist inhabits, public radio should know its place. And its place, clearly, should be on the fringe, as it was many years ago. Back then, the medium was so wildly “creative” and unpredictable that virtually no one listened. Certainly no one in commercial radio thought of public radio as a threat. Well, Bloomquist sure thinks Diane Rehm is a threat, and like a wounded animal he lashes out wildly at the perceived attacker.
Too bad Bloomquist felt the need to insult the intelligence of the large and growing audience that does want to learn “the NPR way,” or the Diane Rehm way.
American University Park