BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.
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MIKE PESCA, host:
Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from NPR Studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, imminent demise. I'm Mike Pesca. It's Monday, July 14th, 2008.
Maybe you read the news. It is, by turns, troubling and dispiriting, but yes, amid a crackdown in a food sector in Bangladesh, the government has cancelled the license of over 1,900 delinquent rice mills across the country. Any cancellation of rice mills always has the official explanation. In this case, it was, you know, public procurement drives, there was some noncooperation. That's what they say in public. But of course, you have to wonder if the rice mills simply didn't fit into the overall culture of the food-grain collection and monitoring committees.
Because as much as the food grain collection and monitoring committees say they wanted to try something new and different and daring with their rice mills, it was maybe just too scary, just out of their comfort zone, different from the way they had always done rice procurement. And by the way, you have to wonder about the message this gives to anyone in the future who even thinks about looking towards the food grain collection and monitoring committees as a place for innovation, as a laboratory for experimentation. Most grain experts, even if you dabble in biomechanical engineering, you'll tell others that, you know, rice sometimes needs time to cultivate, especially a hybrid strain. It's kind of a sad thing in the area of rice procurement.
Onto the show, we have a jam-packed show today. John Harris with Politico.com is here to talk politics with us. Penis thievery in Africa? Yes. A one-question interview about recycling bottle caps. And sports with Bill Wolff. We'll get today's headlines in just a minute, but first...
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PESCA: Unemployment numbers are set to increase by at least 14. The Bryant Park Project is being cancelled. That is according to a report in today's New York Times. NPR declined to comment to the Times, but the BPP is in the position to confirm the story.
The show's last broadcast will reportedly be next Friday, July 25th. Host Alison Stewart, who is on maternity leave, told the Times, quote, "From what I understand, we are obviously in extra-tough economic times, and this a financial and strategic decision. I was told it had nothing to do with the quality or content of the show." Stewart will return next week to host the final five days. She told the Times she was surprised by the decision, and as the article points out, quote, "NPR officials have said publicly in recent months that the Bryant Park Project was attracting the kind of web audience they had hoped for."
Indeed, a recent online survey concluded the show's audience is younger than NPR's typical base. And some listeners say they've been introduced to other NPR shows through the BPP. The show has surpassed one million page views per month after just six months in existence, significantly exceeding benchmarks NPR set for the show before launch. The BPP was carried on 28 NPR stations nationwide, most of them secondary or HD radio stations.
Reaction to the news on the BPP blog was immediate and one-sided. T. Weiss wrote, quote, "BPP hits a lot closer to home for me. It talks about issues I care about. I have never been involved with the news or radio program more than with the BPP. Extremely disappointed in Ohio."
Terry Green, writes, quote, "Like a lot of other people who work in public radio, I'm trying really, really hard to find ways for our station's programming and how we deliver it to evolve in the face of rapid and scary changes on every imaginable front. BPP has been a real inspiration to us in that effort in more ways than I can count."
And Sad Carey says, "Nooooooooooo!!!!!!! How on Earth am I going to make it through my awful workday without the BPP?!?" Well, Sad Carey, we found a hot new Internet video to keep BPP fans occupied.
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Mr. TAY ZONDAY: (Singing) Chocolate rain. Some stay dry, and others feel the pain. Chocolate rain. A baby born...
PESCA: Cold comfort. You can stick with the BPP for more updates on this story. Now, let's get some more of today's headlines with the BPP's Mark Garrison.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.