[ radio Category ]
April 08, 2003


As anyone who listens to HPR knows, it is doing one of its begging bowl routines. Okay, I admit, this one is not as obnoxious as some in the past have been. But in ordinary times, I just don't turn it on during the "pledge drive". These are not, of course, ordinary times.

We touched on this in the "Sweetheart" thread.

At least they've begun most programs at the scheduled time, even if they do then interrupt fifteen minutes later to beg for money. I can't help thinking they would have been more sensible to have postponed this until after, at least, the early days of the "War of Liberation".


Well, during a begging interlude last evening they asked, "what's your favorite program on HPR?"

No contest for me. Michael Lasser's weekly hour of music "from the golden age of American song" [9pm Saturday, I think, on one HPR station ... 4pm Sunday on the other]. Mostly theatre music. About the only chance we get to hear such music on Hawaii radio.

In second place would be the Saturday afternoon opera broadcast. Then "Prairie Home Companion".

On a daily basis, I sometimes listen to "All Things Considered", rarely miss "Marketplace" and some of the half-hour programs which follow it, and especially in times like this, the BBC Worldwide Service at seven.

So, you listen to NPR/HPR? What's your favorite. And least favorite?

["Car Talk" gets my vote in the second category.]

Posted by Albert at April 08, 2003 01:52 PM


Posted by Glen Miyashiro on April 8, 2003 2:21 PM:

This American Life is my absolute favorite public radio show, although my schedule keeps me from listening religiously. Luckily, they stream their archives on their website. Terry Gross's Fresh Air is up there too. Of course, the NPR drive-time news shows are essential: Morning Edition and All Things Considered. And Car Talk, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and that other quiz show (what's it called?) always make me laugh.

Posted by tyd on April 8, 2003 5:34 PM:

Glen -- perhaps you are thinking of Whad'Ya Know? with Michael Feldman.

Posted by Linkmeister on April 8, 2003 8:52 PM:

Two gets you one he's thinking of Says You Thursday afternoons at 4:30, tyd. :)

I re-found NPR (specifically ATC) while working at the Ilikai in 1991; I'd heard it on Kwajalein in the mid-70s on AFRTS but forgot about it when I got back here in 1978. If I remember correctly, that was two or three years before the station actually started here in Hawai'i; I suspect it was strictly classical music at the time (the HPR site doesn't have a history page).

As boring as the Ilikai job was, public radio was a blessing; before I found it I was listening to KHVH with its every hour-on-the-hour news and who knows what in-between.

They were positively giddy when they went over the top this morning.

Posted by Ryan on April 8, 2003 11:18 PM:

I don't really mind it when they put out the "begging bowl," because that's the way of public radio, and I'll take the twice-yearly fund drives over the frequency and types of commecial breaks you get on any other station (see "Annoying Locals").

Like I mentioned in the last thread, though, it is painful at times to listen to them drone on and on, saying occasionally strange or condescending things. And what I always wondered is, why not adjust the funding formula (seeing as how programs already receive corporate and foundation underwriting) to rely less on individual listeners? I mean, even if I give them $120, I still have to hear about the Weinberg Foundation or some local law office every hour.

As for Albert's comment as to why they didn't wait until after the heat of war coverage, I think it was a good call. In addition to the official one given on air (our margins are so tight, and the length of the war so unknown, we didn't think we could make it), they got us right when we were realizing just how much we rely on them. Even at home, with access to digital cable and a dozen "news channels," I would seek out KHPR and KIPO for their CBC and BBC feeds for news from Iraq. I have no doubt people were more willing than usual to whip out their wallets this time, both because we couldn't deny we were consumers of their product, but to shut them up and get back to the programming already.

As for the main question posed, I have to confess I am drawn more toward their news and talk shows over their music shows. Morning Edition and All Things Considered, The World and As It Happens, and more and more lately, BBC World Service/World Today. Now and then Talk of the Nation has a topic I'm interested in, and I try when I can to catch On The Media (natch) and Counterspin.

I also have to confess, I like Car Talk. Talk about the red-headed stepchild of the public radio family. Oh, and Schickele Mix with Peter "P.D.Q. Bach" Schickele. If I really need to wind down, I'll tune into Prairie Home Companion.

I think one of the signs you're addicted to NPR is when you start to memorize the standard intro and outro ("...it's time to say goodbye to our American listeners...") language or hum the theme songs (I get the CBC's As It Happens song stuck in my head all the time, complete with the musical tip o' the hat to General Electric).

Posted by Glen Miyashiro on April 9, 2003 1:05 AM:

You got it, Linkmeister - I was thinking of Says You. Good call!

Posted by lisa on April 9, 2003 8:49 AM:

We listen to NPR in the car while commuting. It's the only non-web source of news I listen to these days.

Just about every day, Howard Dykus (sp?)- the Pacific Business News guy- has an acerbic comment at the end of his piece that cracks me up. I liked yesterday's- he was reporting on some school competition with a prize of a trip to SF. He ended with, "The winner will get a trip to an even more expensive city with inferior weather." Ha!

We like to make fun of the guy who says "You're listening to En-Pee-ARRRRRRR," with the R nasally drawn out pirate-style.

I am glad the pledge drive is over though. I found Mike O'Neil especially irritating for some reason.

Posted by Linkmeister on April 9, 2003 9:14 AM:

"you start to memorize the standard intro and outro"

Oh, yeah. I'm so bad I do it on the News Hour, too:

"For those stations not taking a station break..."

I absolutely love Click and Clack, but there are few shows I don't like on the KIPO stream (New Dimensions comes to mind, though). Did you know that Adam Felber of Wait Wait has a blog? He's good (no, he's really good, if you're political and moderate-to-liberal).

Posted by Albert on April 9, 2003 9:24 AM:

I was much surprised, and pleasantly so, to discover the pledge drive had ended. Looks like Ryan is right, holding it during a time when they probably had more listeners than usual evidently was a wise move.

I forgot (probably with unconscious deliberateness) the one show I positively loathe: that hideous Romantic Hour or whatever it's called on Sunday evening.
Things like reading letters mixed with snippets of boring music ... yeukh.

Posted by aureservoir on April 9, 2003 4:34 PM:

This American Life, Splendid Table, and To The Best of Our Knowledge (this show's from Wisconsin Public Radio; I listen to past shows on the Internet).

Posted by Glen Miyashiro on April 9, 2003 5:13 PM:

Ryan: "I think one of the signs you're addicted to NPR is when you start to memorize the standard intro and outro ("...it's time to say goodbye to our American listeners...") language or hum the theme songs (I get the CBC's As It Happens song stuck in my head all the time, complete with the musical tip o' the hat to General Electric)."

This reminds me of an All Things Considered episode back in 1999, in which they did a preview piece on Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace. At the end of the show, Linda Wertheimer did the outro and intoned, "Listening to National Public Radio....... you are." I almost drove off the road, I was laughing so hard.

Posted by Linkmeister on April 9, 2003 5:24 PM:

You know you're addicted when you know the name of the group performing the theme for Fresh Air (that would be The Microscopic Septet). Or that the guy who composed the As It Happens theme was named Art and died a year or so ago.

(I gotta get out more).

Posted by helen on April 9, 2003 8:53 PM:

It's been awhile but I used to listen to Schickele Mix and the tail end of From the Top.

Posted by Glen Miyashiro on April 9, 2003 9:31 PM:

Speaking of Schickele Mix, does anyone know where I can find a recording of Schickele doing his rendition of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" to the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway"?

Posted by helen on April 10, 2003 12:21 AM:

It's not in The Ill-Conceived P.D.Q. Bach Anthology.

Posted by mitchell on April 10, 2003 9:32 PM:

I just love NPR. But then, I love anything that involves intelligent people discussing, with verbal alacrity, absolutely anything.

There are not many shows I dislike. I love Car Talk, and Says You, and Wait Wait, the Splendid Table, As it Happens, and A Prairie Home Companion. I enjoy the PRI shows a little more than the NPR shows, but I must say that the shows which have background music during the programming are starting to grate on me.

Terri Gross has one of the sexiest voices I've ever heard. Did you know she's married to James Fallows? You could probably turn their dinner conversations into an NPR reality show. I'd listen.

I really love catching the Writer's Almanac, too.

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