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April 12, 2009


Dr. Fine

NPR is just another shill for corporate "sponsors" and the existing political establishment, which is just another way of saying the corporations' bitches with Rs and Ds behind their names.

Diane Rehms is the worst. She is supposedly a liberal but she rarely has any truly progressive guests and she never has a problem pitching softballs at her guests who are involved in "mainstream" (i.e. brought and paid for) politics. Don't want to upset access to the political establishment by actually asking hard timely questions don't you know.

But at least when I am forced to listen to NPR it is always refreshing to be reminded explicitly and implicitly that as a heterosexual white middle-class male I am the source of all the world's problems.


I can at least offer a unique new spin on the topic. As someone who really doesn't have major gripes against NPR, in my big road commuting years I nonetheless have, on countless occasions, been provoked to bang my head on the steering wheel and say "oh shit, it's Wednesday again".

I mean, really, is there a more banal commentator in the world than Frank Deford?


NPR- National Propaganda Radio.

'Nuff said.

Patty Bee

The reason Spanish words are frequently pronounced as they are (that is, correctly) on NPR is because it has several Hispanic correspondents for whom Spanish was either their first language or was acquired at home from Spanish speakers as they were also learning English. Are you suggesting they should now learn to pronounce the word like a gringo (that is, INcorrectly) so gringos won't be offended? And why does this offend you?

Many years ago when I first got on the net, I read an NPR newsgroup available through AOL, and people there were also complaining about its Hispanic reporters--in this case, pronouncing their names in this "phony" Hispanic-accented way. That was enough to make me run far away from AOL and learn how to access the Net directly.

What eez wrong with you people?


well, I suppose you could just not listen to those shows? don't be such a sourpuss... who pissed in your Wheaties?

John S

Mike Flugennock... this part is for comments, not commentaries.


Terry Gross the worst interviewer of all time.


Here is an excerpt from an article about Diane Rehm's life story "Finally, "Finding My Voice" recounts Rehm's battle with a rare neurological disorder, spasmodic dysphonia (SD), a condition that threatened to end her broadcast career. She was off the air for months searching for a diagnosis and treatment."

Granted, I can't stand to listen to her either...but she has a disease that makes her voice sound that way. "Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a voice disorder in which abrupt, involuntary movements (spasms) in the voice box cause abnormal voice (dysphonia)."


12. Scott Simon. Jesus Pleaseus.


Louisa Lim 'weepohting wive from Wangoon.'


Brilliant - best blog post on here in ages. Has obviously touched the ol' Internet's nerve ....
As one friend once said, "it's radio for semi-smart people to make them think they're more intelligent than they are."


I have to laugh at the WAMU comments above: WAMU hasn't carried daytime bluegrass in over a decade. They moved it to the web, and then to a second broadcast service over HDRadio. That also cost them some members, but not nearly as many as WETA's ill-fated journey into all-news-and-talk, which porked off all the old-fart "public radio is for classical music" fatheads. They lost a bunch of support and backpedaled to all-dead-Europeans-all-the-time in record time.

Me, I was pretty sick of "Prairie Home Companion" 30 years ago, and it's still on, the favorite we-don't-watch-TV pursuit of suburban whiner libs everywhere. "Car Talk" is breeding another generation of Americans who think it's cute not to know a damn thing about your car and even cuter when your $100-an-hour mechanic doesn't, either. But the absolute worst shows are the weird niche things they stick into weird hours of the very early morning, to keep their tokenistic cred among minorities. Black? Guess you'll have to listen at 3am. Latino? Hey, 7am on Saturday for you.

And "The Parents' Journal" and "Calling All Pets" are just "Car Talk" in other disguises.


Considering a number of your DJ's work at WNYC, you should really know by now that the Takeaway isn't NPR, it's PRI. Ira Glass is also not NPR, regardless of whether you like him or not.

NPR has its problems, but if you're ignorant when you talk about them, you're not hurting anyone but yourself. Oh, and you degrade the image of WFMU, which is kind of a shame. Put down the bong and check your facts.


Jonathon Schwartz is trying to kill me -- Every Saturday at noon I am either driving or operating power tools when his show comes on. One of these weeks, I will either fall asleep at the wheel or try to defend my sanity from the dulcet tones of Nelson Riddle by removing my ears with a table saw. Dear god, I just hope I don't take anyone else with me.


"Latin and Spanish words have to be pronounced with a Spanish accent. This is not necessary, however, for French or other European languages."

Are you somehow under the impression that Spanish is not a European lamguage? Not to mention Latin...

Nick S

I did notice that you did not mention the soul-destroying voice of Diane Rheim. It is almost criminal of you to neglect mentioning it when bashing NPR.

jennifer from pittsburgh

Ira Glass should have been mentioned first.
Oh, and I definitely agree with #4, but I would take it a bit further and throw both their coverage of it and the genre as a whole down the well with Timmy.


I'm surprised to read NPR-bashing at the classiest place for radio talk. But as long as we're all taking shots, I gotta say as a Sacramentan, that it is really a shame that Capital Public Radio's manifest destiny nearly matches the frequency-gobbling expansionist zealotry of the major Evangelical Christian broadcasting networks which shouldn't even belong on the non-commercial/educational band. When CPR made the deal with California State University-Sacramento to manage their two 50,000 watt FM stations, they said that they would not shut out students or the community. They lied....shut the station down, only to return with a professional staff, and only the most professional-sounded community volunteer DJs. Some regents were very disappointed, but once the money started flowing in, the other cheek was turned.

Maybe 10 years ago, stricter formatting was applied to both classical KXPR (goodbye to occasional interesting moments of modern and minimalist composers) and jazz KXJZ (so long to the avant garde!). Next, Capital Public Radio descended onto the campus of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, who let them kick out the student and community broadcasters at KUOP, thereby killing at least one world class radio show that I enjoyed. Now we can listen to duplicative NPR programming on three frequencies in our 17th largest media market that can barely keep our one major newspaper alive. This is what I tell every new volunteer at Freeform KDVS in Davis...."Don't think it can't happen here!"


RE #2: THE BUMPERS--THEY MAKE ME WANT TO GET VIOLENT. seriously tho, i have to turn the station when i can feel a bumper coming on. how expensive can it be to record new bumpers? HOW EXPENSICE CAN IT BE??!! AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!


I have a love hate relationship with NPR too. Seems like the better a show is the less often you'll hear it. And if it's really good (Bryant Park Project) it will get canned. Maybe if they brought back BPP and played more Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion, I might be compelled to listen more often.


1 Thing I hate about poor web designers:

Using a black background with white text.

Mike Flugennock

Whoa, Tom! You're right, there, man. How could I have possibly forgotten Garrison Keillor -- or, as I often call him, "Sominex On Two Legs" (out of earshot of my wife, of course). To this day, I don't know what the hell people see in Prairie Home Companion, I honestly don't. Hell, maybe it's a Minnesota thing. All I know is, my wife can't quit gushing about Keillor and PHC. I don't know if they're supposed to be funny, or quaint, or heartwarming, or what. The most they've managed to get out of me is a bemused snicker every twenty minutes or so, in between the yawning chasms of endless boredom. I've endured an episode or two -- once again, while trapped in the car with my wife, and had to fight the urge to seize the wheel, kick her out onto the side of the road, load up the CD player with some bootleg Dead, some Who, some Slade, and some old Stones, and floor it.

Funny thing, though, about Keillor: a few years ago he published a novel entitled WLT: A Radio Romance which is one of the best damn' books I've read in the past five years -- a really fascinating story with fascinating characters, great storytelling, and funny as hell; it starts in the early 1920s or thereabouts, at the dawn of radio, and sort of comes full circle in the late 1940s, at the dawn of television. I'll say no more to avoid spoiling the plot, for those who are interested. Prairie Home Companion makes me want to blow up WAMU's transmitter, but Garrison Keillor's novel about two guys who start out running a deli and end up being huge sucesses in the radio biz is really very good.

Sammy Dunn

Amen about Will Shortz. I do the NYT xword every day and every now and then his pretentious voice creeps into my head when a clue is overly pompous.

I don't know her name, but there's a woman on a weekend afternoon "all things considered" who sounds like Liane Hansen REGARDLESS of the topic. I recall hearing her get really really really excited about a man who won the prize for largest pumpkin. Egads, as if the topic was insufferable enough.

TAL is often the number one podcast, so despite the monotone blah blah, there is something compelling about it. Perhaps we're all just hoping to hear David Sedaris?

Fresh Air USED to be great, now it's simply boring. Despite TG's methods, she used to be really compelling, regardless of the topic, but it's obvious she's on autopilot.

IMO the ONLY way to listen to NPR is through podcasts. I started doing it that way when the last administration was in office, because I simply could NOT abide the sound of *that* moron's voice.


This I Believe: that "This I Believe" gives lefties a bad name by giving such a public voice to self-righteous, sanctimonious twits.


You got ten items and you didn't even get to Andrei Codrescu??? Every time that guy comes on, it's like the the Cold War all over again. I hit the radio knob to silence dissent.


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