I am commenting on the thought that the 'gateway people' seem often to be of lesser quality than the real thing, not advocating - and asking why this should be the case. Clearly this is marketing, popularity, etc that helps pull people into whatever art or learning they are attracted to. The Rachael Rays of the world serve a function I suppose, as you point out. But why could it not be that 'gateways' are both popular and excellent? (Occasionally they are.) The low expectations placed on the lowest common denominator, the general public, is a sad state of affairs. Wouldn't it be nice if Charlie Parker had been more of the draw in the first place into the art form rather than Kenny G.
There was a youtube of Joshua Bell playing violin in the NY subway with his case open for donations. Almost everyone just walked by - a musician you probably would have paid $200 to see the night before a Carnegie Hall. This was just a little experiment and I guess illustrates that the general public likes what it is told to like (marketing again) and, out of context not able to perceive the difference between a student performance and an inspired performance. Where was the person who would stop to listen to Bell and say 'Holy sh%t, that is an amazing violinist'
I am not naive about this; just remarking on the average ability to distinguish between crap and quality - a social/education system topic.