WFYI isn’t unbiased

July 19, 2014

Anthony Schoettle’s [June 23] article “Less news, more talk” bemoans the loss of Steve Simpson and states, “With Simpson’s departure, the only local station that still employs non-opinion-oriented news hosts is WFYI.” As an avid WIBC listener, I agree that losing Steve Simpson is a loss to the listeners. Nothing against Tony Katz, whom I love in an evening time slot. But my morning commute will not be the same.

However, I disagree with Richard Miles’ assertion that WFYI is “as unbiased as possible,” or with Schoettle’s unwritten assertion that a “non-opinion-oriented news host” means there isn’t any opinion.

No reasonable person would assert that WFYI gives equal time or coverage to the Tea Party as it does to Occupy Wall Street, or the Walk for Life versus Planned Parenthood. Numerous studies have shown that public radio (including WFYI) is much like the major news networks (ABC, NBC, CBS), certain cable networks (CNN, MSNBC) and newspapers (Indianapolis Star, The New York Times, The Washington Post), all of which skew their news reporting.

My experience would say that WFYI isn’t as bad as the Times (the IRS scandal on A19?), but a little bit of bias is still bias.

At the end of the day, it comes down to ratings and revenue. WIBC has had strong ratings and great revenue. All of the other news agencies listed above have seen their ratings and revenue flat-line or decline over the last few years. WIBC’s decision is a move to better compete in a marketplace where low ratings and revenue would eventually mean bankruptcy; unless of course, you have government subsidies.

Michael L. Kalscheur

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