Let the Music Play

Several years ago, Mississippi Public Broadcasting changed its formatting from being music based–with predominately classical music–to talk. This was a move that most in the media applauded.

I’m just not sure I can listen anymore.

I have nothing against the current shows. “Southern Remedy” and “Money Talks” have their moments. I can stand “All Things Considered” for a half hour, and enjoy “Mississippi Edition” just fine. But none of it speaks to the soul the way that music does.

I understand that MPB broadcasts music on digital channels. But I can’t listen to those on the go. Nor can most Mississippians, whose exposure to classical music is largely limited now to what they can get in band classes–provided that they attend schools whose music programs haven’t been cut.

Given the polarization of politics, the last thing I want when I hop in the car is to listen to news and talk. Brahms and Beethoven, I suspect, would bring more Mississippians together than blather.

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12 Responses to Let the Music Play

  1. Gracie Rowland says:

    I agree with Dr. Easterlings opinions wholly. In my opinion, the average Mississippian (and American) is vastly underexposed to classical music. Perhaps I’m terribly biased because of all of the music appreciation classes that I took in elementary school, but it is my belief that a knowledge and appreciation of classical music plays an integral part in becoming a cosmopolitan and cultured individual. The physical and mental benefits of listening to classical have been veritably proven. I advocate that Bartók and Chopin play on repeat in exchange for monotonous and derivative talk shows.

  2. Samantha says:

    Music is one of the bases of creativity. In addition to the slow disappearance of music, art is going away. Unfortunately, the focus in school is on Science, Math, History, and English. Additionally, schools stop counting art classes as credits after a certain number so there is no point in taking them after the max amount is reached. Sadly, MSMS is guilty of doing this as well despite receiving more awards in the arts than MSA. The arts are an important way to express yourself. Nowadays, music is becoming more electronically based and losing its soul, causing music to hit the top charts and then immediately fall behind. This has caused us to lose the ability to really listen to music, and understand it. We listen to see if it is catchy and if other people are listening to it. And as far as the talk shows, the increase in them is unfortunate. I believe the decrease in the “importance” of the arts is what is leading to talk shows taking place of music. If people don’t understand how to listen to music, it loses its popularity and rating decrease, losing money.

  3. Alisha says:

    As a person with a short attention span I fully agree that music is definitely more successful in catching my attention than a broadcast. Music has this indulging attribute that travels through your entire body when heard causing you to act in a way that displays happiness. Having music in my presence on the go causes my brain to function in a determined way so that I feel inspired to actually do something. Music can also bring together diverse groups all because they have a similar music interest. So basically broadcast and talk shows lack the sense of community that music brings to people making music ratings decrease. In my opinion music should remain relevant because it can influence people in a beneficial way more efficiently than talk shows.

  4. Abby Strain says:

    I personally find the lack of classical music exposure to people in the United States—particularly the South—absolutely disheartening. Media widely focuses on politics and lives of celebrities, and appreciation for fine arts is fading to the background. For most Mississippians I know, the only music they listen to on a daily basis was what played over the radio, and as radio stations continue to focus more and more on talk shows and debates, that aspect of their lives are ultimately lost. This tragedy seems like a small one in the grand scheme of things but the loss of culture—despite being subtle—is incredibly saddening.

  5. Emily Lin says:

    I am not a fan of Mississippi Public Broadcasting changing its format from generally classical music to talk shows. There are many radios that broadcast talk shows but not enough to broadcast music. Classical music is a genre that everyone can enjoy. You do not have to know a certain language or be in an educated field to relate to it. And speaking of language, many talk shows are directed towards English speaking people, and there are people of all nationalities even in Mississippi. Music is a language that we are born to understand, and as someone from Chinese descent, broadcasting classical music on the radio will not limit to only English speaking people but will be available to non English speakers as well. I believe that classical music should be kept on the Mississippi Public Broadcasting so that it is open for people of all nationalities.

  6. Alexandria Kerr says:

    While I personally do not have experience with MPB, it seems as though this is a popular broadcasting service in Mississippi, so I will continue off of this assumption. I believe this conundrum really only applies to older generations because the youth these days hardly listen to the radio in general. With streaming services, mobile data, and aux cords, most people do not see a reason to even listen to the radio when they can simply listen to their favorite music anytime. Whenever my mother and I are in the car we hardly listen to the radio, instead choosing to have a conversation. I do not see this change from music to talk shows as an issue. If talk shows are what Mississippians want, then that’s what they will get. If you want to be outside of the majority opinion, then the company owners do not care about you; therefore, you will not get what you want. Music and art are very important to society, but if people do not want to partake and appreciate it, then we can not force them to.

  7. Collin says:

    Before coming to this school, my mornings would consist of a car ride with my dad in which he only played MPB. I would wake up at 6:30 and suffer through the beginning of the morning just to get in the car and listen to some wack talk show that puts me to sleep. No one should have to suffer through those talk shows. They are a disgrace to radio and I would much rather listen to a symphony. Symphonies are calming yet exciting which is perfect for the morning. I would much rather be hyped up by Beethoven then bored by a monotone voice discussing politics at 7 am.

  8. Ethan Hill says:

    I agree. I feel the appreciation of music, especially in the South, is underrated. Personally, I grew up going to Ole Miss football games with my siblings, listening to the band playing From Dixie with Love. Of course, I did not agree with the lyrics of this song, but the culture that it represented was far more powerful than that of the discriminate takes by the minority of people. People nowadays assume everyone is interested in politics, when it is quite the opposite. As a person with a personal love for music, I appreciate little more than a song to relax to.

  9. Jude Letonoff says:

    I completely agree with the point made that “the last thing I want when I hop in the car is to listen to news and talk”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into my car and cringed as I turned to MPB and heard a talk show on.
    Despite this, I feel like turning away from music and moving towards alternative content was the right move for the channel. As much as we may hate to admit it the days of turning on the radio to listen to music is ending. Why turn on the radio and listen to Bach when you just as easily open up Spotify and listen to that new [enter artist] album that all of your friends have been hyping up.
    Simply put, if radio stations don’t find new content for its audiences they will die. While the shows aren’t always what we want, hopefully they are just the first step that MPB and other stations will take in finding content that we like to listen to.

  10. Andrew Ignatius says:

    This opinion is something that I cannot express enough, because listening to classical music before or during your times of study, can actually help boost your performance where accuracy in whatever subject you are pursuing is concerned. Tho hear that the classical music station has been replaced with a boring talk show is quite disgraceful. No one should have to suffer through those talk shows. They are a disgrace to radio and I would much rather listen to a symphony anyways.

  11. William Shy says:

    There are far too many talk shows on the radio, and they are always either too politicized or just boring. I think the broadcasting companies need to find a balance between talk and music. They can still air talk shows, but they should play more music than talk shows because that’s what people want to hear. I can’t stand getting in the car with my mom and hearing people talk about politics for the entire car ride, whether it’s five minutes or five hours. I find myself putting in headphones, or when I’m driving, I just use an aux cord and listen to exactly what I want to listen to. I think the simplest solution when MPB airs talk shows is to tune to another station, or just plug in an aux cord.

  12. Elisabeth Seage says:

    Growing up, we listened to two things in the car with my parents: the Grateful Dead and MPB. While these car rides left me with a great appreciation for timeless music, it also left me with an indifferent feeling towards these talk shows. I like getting caught up on current events before starting the day as much as the next person, but that’s not all I want to listen to, especially when half the news will leave me in a worse feeling than before I step in the car. I also don’t want to hear about obscure projects at 7 am from some monotonous person. At that point, I’m already queuing up something to listen to on Spotify. Please, just give me classical music or something to distract myself for just a little bit before starting the day. We’ve truly lost an appreciation for this art, and public radios switching from music to talk shows is not helping. However, the one talk show that can stay is Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. I will never, ever, get tired of listening to that talk show on Saturday.

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