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NPR, PBS In Peril Over Bag Problem

   Tue, April 1, 2008 - 3:44 PM

WASHINGTON, DC (AP) -- In a move that stunned the public broadcasting world, donations are down for the third straight quarter. The $60 donation, the mainstay of public radio and TV broadcasting, has all but disappeared. The reason: Tote bags.

"Ever since Safeway, Kroegers, and other nationwide chains have begun to offer cloth shopping bags to reduce shopping bag waste, our numbers are down," according to Bishop Joey of the First Church, operator of an NPR radio affiliate in New Canton, Arizona. "Few people want to donate $60 to get a tote bag with the Car Talk guys on it when they can spend a dollar for a Kroeger or an Osco bag with their nice logo on it," the minister said.

His comments were echoed by Myles de Asario of the National Public Radio merchandising unit. "We even tried being clever, adding a "Nina Totenbag" to our collection, but the tote bags just aren't moving anymore. It has become a serious issue as our suppliers are becoming stuck with a serious logjam of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and Neil Conant bags. Unless we get relief soon, we may have to dump the bags on the open market, diminishing their value even further. But we really have little choice," the representative said.

So serious has the problem become that PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service has been experimenting with replacements for the tote bags. "It's not enough to offer a "Yan Can Cook" tote bag, today we have to offer a set of knives, a vegetable chopper and a maybe even a Flowbee hair cutting device for the more demanding contributors," according to Espinoza Walker O'Brien Douglas-Mansuba, chief negotiator for the PBS station members, representing station interests to the national network. "These days, a donor phones us and demands that we throw in a vegetable slicer or a sweater de-linter. We simply can't keep up anymore," she said.

1 Comment

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Tue, April 1, 2008 - 4:16 PM
I'd pay good money for a Daniel Schorr tote bag. A little less for a Garrison Keillor one.