June 05, 2020

MPR vs. the Met

I am rather puzzled by Maine Public Broadcasting vice president Rus Peotter’s assertion that, “… we [MPB] have been asking for years that the Met allow us to offer the opera at another time.” (BDN, Dec. 8). Surely, a person in Peotter’s corporate position would know that, in the 60 years that Texaco has sponsored free broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, the oil company has always insisted that stations carry the operas live.

Has anyone at MPB asked recently if the Met broadcasts could be recorded for broadcast at another time? When the program’s sponsor has made no exceptions to its live-performance policy in over half a century, it must take considerable ingenuity for Maine Public Broadcasting executives to make a convincing argument to Texaco’s board that the MPB will serve its listeners better by moving the program.

As MPB runs on public monies, and for the public benefit, it seems an entirely reasonable request that Peotter provide the media with the precise date and full text of Maine Public Radio’s most recent written communication with the Met sponsor, in which an MPB executive formally requests permission to move the time of broadcast. This way, the public can evaluate the persuasive powers of the managers whose network in Maine the public supports – and, also, we will discover at just what more convenient slot MPR will “seriously consider returning the Met opera to its schedule, should the Met allow us to broadcast it at another time.”

If Peotter cannot promptly supply a copy of the requested communication, perhaps it is Maine Public Radio which “has conveniently left out some important information” in its communication with listeners and readers, rather than the Bangor Daily News, as Peotter would have it.

Farnham Blair

Blue Hill

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