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I read Tony Norman's column regarding the current state of Pittsburgh's NPR source, WESA-FM ("What WESA Gets Right: 'Essential Pittsburgh,' " Sept. 4). Unlike many former WDUQ listeners, I had little interest in the jazz programming on the old station. I was certainly glad to know it was there as a traditional resource and felt the pain of those who love jazz. But I enjoy the news and interview shows that WESA either continued or introduced to me. I am partial to shows on the arts but am open to any show that is intelligent and entertaining.
I side with Mr. Norman that the latest reformat in August has taken some of the very best shows away. From 10 a.m. to noon on weekdays, "On Point with Tom Ashbrook" is a truly exceptional offering combining wit, wide-ranging guests and sharp repartee; it has been replaced with a show featuring the unlistenable Diane Rehm. For a 75-year-old interviewer, she is relatively (let's just say) mediocre, but there is just no getting around the fact that Ms. Rehm has a voice for newspaper writing.
To subtract Mr. Ashbrook's excellence for Ms. Rehm's lackluster offerings smacks of pure cost cutting, and that is no way to attract more financial contributions. I have aided 90.5 many times over the years, but I won't even consider shelling out my hard-earned cash for this new format.
First Published September 7, 2012 12:00 am