Confessions of an N.P.R Addict
Recently, I was forced to confront an addiction that has been plaguing my life for years but has only now begun to become recognized by those around me and perhaps even to myself as something that is infringing on my lifestyle.
It is not drugs.
It is not alcohol.
It is N.P.R.
When I began listening to National Public Radio in high school I had no idea that it would so ingratiate its way into my life that I would find myself, one recent Saturday, at a crossroads, balancing whether to join dear friends at a festive get-together or stay home, plopped in a living room chair, an ear bent towards the glowing radio dial. But there I was.
There is no better medium for intelligent reporting, hard-hitting analysis or astute discourse than N.P.R. (sorry my beloved but deluded FOXNEWS-philes). The public radio network renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information, and cultural programming is the standard by which I judge all other news sources, radio or otherwise.
But N.P.R. is so much more than its daily news juggernauts, Morning Edition or All Things Considered, phenomenal as they are.
Here are a few of my absolute favorites:
Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me: NPR's weekly news quiz program is one of the best hours you will spend in your week. Host Peter Sagal tests your knowledge against some of the best, brightest, and utterly funniest personalities in the entertainment world. Think you're up on your current events? We'll see!
This American Life (produced in affiliation with P.R.I.): Each week This American Life chooses a theme and invites different writers and performers, from David Sedaris to Sarah Vowell, to contribute items on that theme. The show, hosted by Ira Glass is, quite simply, just a show of stories. And it is, quite simply, mesmerizing.
Car Talk: Don't think a show about automobiles can hold your interest for an hour? Think again. Host brothers, Tom and Ray (Click and Clack) Magliozzi take calls on cars, car repair or any sort of vehicular nonsense with the minds of the M.I.T.-trained veterans they are and the funny-bones of the Italian comedians they must have been in a past life.
A Prairie Home Companion: Three decades ago this year, Garrison Keillor started a small show in Minnesota that is now heard by over 4 million people each week across the globe. A live variety show best known for whimsical stories from Lake Wobegon, A.P.H.C. is a delicious cornucopia of stories, music, comedy, and conversation. N.P.R.'s most beloved darling.
The Thomas Jefferson Hour: Teasing out the truth according to the founding father and visionary third president of the fledgling United States, Humanities scholar and author, Clay Jenkinson, adopts the persona of Jefferson each week to comment on current events and answer questions the public may have about Jefferson.
Weekend Edition Saturday: Scott Simon is simply brilliant. The Peabody Award-winning correspondent spends his program effortlessly blending insightful news coverage, thoughtful commentary, and hilarious observations into a pair of hours that leave the listener both well informed and smiling from ear to ear.
Other honorable mentions include: Whad'ya Know?, The World, Fresh Air, The Infinite Mind, and The Thistle and Shamrock.
And that is only scratching the surface of N.P.R.'s vast stockpile. Check out these fine programs and others you have just discovered you cannot live without. To find your local N.P.R. station, please visit http://www.npr.org
And so there I was, torn in two directions, balancing time spent with friends and time spent with inanimate electromagnetic radiation transmissions.
Which did I choose?
I'll have to tell you later. Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me is about to begin...