Short week ahead, and I’m hosting Thanksgiving, so much to do. Expect outages ahead, or maybe just a lot of food pictures. I can’t believe how fast the weeks whip by. On Sunday, I scan the week ahead and before I know it, it’s Thursday and I’m pulling myself out of the pool, telling the old lifeguard-coach, “See you next week, Tim.” That’s when my weekend starts, mentally, although two days of work remain at that point. But the attitude is different, no longer a climb but a coast. And then it’s Friday, and I head out to meet pals at a venerable local watering hole. The view across the street:
The scenery around here isn’t for everyone, but it grows on you. The Instagram filters help, too.
I was trying to grab the neon, admittedly in hail-Mary fashion, but I like the way it turned out. Just a tetch of Hopper-ness.
The broad-daylight shot:
But Sunday comes along eventually, and only a short week ahead, but Monday will be a bear. So let’s do this thing.
I work with public-radio people fairly regularly, so this story — about the graying of NPR — struck me. It’s a mix of reactions, equally “that’s too bad, because younger people need to be listening” and “it’s their own damn fault.” The latter is mainly due to the fact one of the local public stations is still playing “Car Talk,” years after half the team died. This seems like the public-radio equivalent of classic-rock stations refusing to move on because the Stones still sound so good, right?
This drives me nuts, too:
Some of the other brand-name talent at NPR illustrates the situation: Talk-show host Diane Rehm is 79; senior national correspondent Linda Wertheimer is 72; legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg is 71, and “Weekend Edition Saturday” host Scott Simon is a relative youngster at 63.
I enjoy 25-50 percent of the aforementioned hosts. It’s true, though, that when I go to a book-signing or other event that features a public radio-popular personality, I frequently feel like the youngest person there.
Any other bloggage? If you missed this, which someone posted in the comments last week, don’t. It’s good.
As is this companion piece. They’re both about people voting against their own interests, both absolutely worth your time.
Me, I’m off to tackle Monday.
Sherri said on November 23, 2015 at 1:18 am
Pretty much the only time I listen to NPR anymore is in the morning: my clock radio is tuned to NPR, and that’s my alarm clock. So, Morning Edition wakes me up every morning. But that may end, too. I can’t pick up KUOW’s signal in my house, and KUOW is planning to buy KPLU, the other public radio station in town. KPLU currently runs a couple of hours of NPR programming in the mornings and evenings, but jazz the rest of the time. If the purchase goes through, KPLU will go all jazz, and I’ll have to find something else to wake up to.
Maybe KUOW is just trying to keep Seattle’s favorite meteorology professor off the air: http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2015/11/why-kplu-must-be-saved-and-kuow-reformed.html
Dexter said on November 23, 2015 at 3:24 am
Dude! I would have sworn Diane Rehm is at least 95…she has sounded so old for many years now. http://thedianerehmshoworg.c.presscdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/20141107_margaretatwoodgetty.jpg
I listen to Car Talk because they had so much un-aired stuff to do this archive show. But seriously, satellite radio or at least the “I <3 Radio" app give better choices, even Public Radio. I can't even listen to Scott Simon anymore since I found out how much dough he rakes in from "totally listener-funded radio". You don't want to know, it's obscene.
I like the bar-view. Looking back (way back by now) to my bar-hopping days I have fond memories of the time-travel sojourns back in time a couple places afforded folks. Both are in Defiance, Ohio, just down the road a-piece for me. Maag's is one, old time bartenders in white shirts and big white aprons, a menu of liverwurst and sausage sandwiches, a bottle of Corby's blended whiskey "down in the well", keeping it cold for the clientele who prefers a cold shot, old farmers there as well as young families, a few kids running around , there with their parents…a friendly pub kind of place. #2 is Kissner's, right downtown, been there since Presidents wore mutton chop sideburns. The place has lunches daily and was (is?) famous for special "Tom and Jerry" Christmas-theme hot drinks. https://www.facebook.com/Kissners-Restaurant-151245678325389/
Deborah said on November 23, 2015 at 3:33 am
Public radio in Northern New Mexico is pretty sad. Sometimes I can pick up a station from Albuquerque but they only have talk shows in the morning (Diane Rheme, Fresh Air etc). In the afternoon they play Hispanic music and I’ve never listened at night so I don’t know what they play then. Santa Fe has a Public station too but I’ve only heard local talk shows on it, one is about astrology and one is hosted by an old guy who rambles on and on or sometimes has really boring guests, usually other old guys. Sometimes they play music, old timey stuff. Both of these stations are hard to find on the radio dial and usually all I get is static. I rarely listen to radio anymore. It was always only something I did while driving to work and back when I was alone in my car. When we moved to Chicago 12 years ago I walked to work and so no radio. Now that I’m retired I only listen if I find myself driving alone which is rare. I don’t like being a passenger in a car when someone else is driving with the radio on, I find it irritating.
Deborah said on November 23, 2015 at 3:35 am
I have a This American Life app on my iPhone and that’s about the only thing I listen to. Sometimes I listen to Fresh Air online too.
Suzanne said on November 23, 2015 at 6:45 am
I still listen regularly to NPR & I know one of my kids does. The Fort Wayne station does play the Car Talk repeats, but I still listen. Years ago they split the classical music from everything else, but the signal is so weak, it won’t come in at the house, which made me not give them $ for a few years. They have a good mix of programs, but play some of them several times during the week.
And, for what it’s worth, my 20 something daughter loves Diane Rehm!
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2015 at 7:05 am
Okay, so that guy in Santa Fe wasn’t just a fluke of when I was in the area…
NPR and classical music and mainline Protestant churches all have much the same cluster of problems, and the same ways and means of playing the denial game. Each has some breakout exceptions, but the overall trends leave me wondering what the end game, institutionally, will look like. I think our congregation will be around another hundred years, for instance, but I doubt my region or denomination can survive in anything resembling its current form — so what does our form of connection look like down that road? Is it ultimately a mega-merger of national bodies combined with a sell-off of camps and offices and other commonly-held properties? But I first came to our district in 1989, and was the young new minister in the area: I am still the youngest minister at most of our district meetings. We had our area ministerial association sponsored community Thanksgiving service last night, and I was the youngest of eight or nine involved in my first service here in ’89, and last night there were two younger than me, but I suspect the average age of the group was up 15 years or so. That’s just not something that can continue indefinitely!
Likewise I think there will still be wind ensembles and string quartets and the stray orchestra, but the infrastructure is going to go in some likely unpredictable directions. NPR can hold onto a Sirius channel, but the whole national apparatus just doesn’t seem likely to be supportable too far into the future.
I’d love to know what the demographics are for the “Service of Nine Lessons and Carols” out of King’s College, Cambridge on Christmas Eve.
alex said on November 23, 2015 at 7:08 am
I remember becoming disenchanted with public radio in the post-9/11 era when it struck me they were dumbing down in order to deflect criticism from those on the right who considered it a Tokyo Rose operation being funded by their tax dollars. I was appalled when Juan Williams came on the scene as NPR’s token conservative, and it didn’t restore my confidence in NPR when he got hired away by Fox as their token black. But I never considered NPR a “liberal” outlet so much as just an intelligent one. Right-wingers accuse journalists in general of having a liberal bias without understanding that journalism is a profession that attracts intellectually curious people, not those whose minds are closed like theirs.
ROGirl said on November 23, 2015 at 7:29 am
NPR is still running Car Talk, even though one of the guys died last year. What does that tell you? One of my local stations still plays music on the weekends, but classical music was eliminated long ago. I can listen to a CBC station, and they still play classical music, but even they have added rock/pop/whatever to the daily schedule, keeping to their Canadian content requirements.
I would rather listen to news shows on the radio than watch the schlocky music shows they run on PBS.
basset said on November 23, 2015 at 7:44 am
Real journalism does, Alex, lots of clowns and actors out there though.
We are fortunate to have really good public radio here in Nashville – a news-talk flagship with a real news department, second AM channel for more news-talk, and a second FM for the classical music. Couple of HD channels too but I’ve never heard em, don’t think my radio will get them.
My local radio listening is entirely NPR, that and Sirius are all I listen to and mostly in the car.
Public radio here still runs Car Talk, and public tv still runs Lawrence Welk.
coozledad said on November 23, 2015 at 7:55 am
One of the regulars at balloon juice pointed out the news content of NPR is a repackaging of Fox News, to make it palatable for people otherwise absorbed in driving to work. Their editorial bent is to shift the “center” to the right of Ronald Reagan.
One way to examine this is to remember the tone of the broadcasts during the installation of Bush, and the runup to the Iraq War. David Gergen might as well have been on staff. I heard him doing a call-in where a caller questioned his assertion that America was solidly behind Bush and the war. His response was a touchy “No. The American people love this president. They believe in him”. None of the NPR regulars on the panel said a goddamn thing in response.
Contrast those with the election of Obama and the animus toward him from the political director of NPR, who referred to Obama as “Nixonian” during the ACA fight.
The only reason to listen to NPR is to ascertain how the right will lie to make themselves plausible to marginally diffident people in a general election.
Suzanne said on November 23, 2015 at 7:59 am
Jeff TMMO, same here with churches, ministers, etc. The young preachers I’ve met usually leave me wondering if I was that obnoxious when I was 30. From the perch of middle age, I just kind of smile to myself & think I hope I’m around in 20 years to see how they are when they discover that cock-sure confidence & a few prayers to the baby Jesus don’t always make things come out your way.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2015 at 8:02 am
When I was doing pledge drives on-air for WVPTV, back in the 90’s, station management was apologetic about the Welk re-runs, but when we started those hours, the phones lit up and the dollars on the tote board rolled up. It was one of our most reliable pledge-bait programs. It’s a chicken-egg problem: if they’re not watching, they’re not calling, so when we cater to who’s already watching, we win, except that demographically, we’re digging the hole bigger.
I see in my congregation a version of the same; when we do a program I’m thinking will appeal to younger families, and it does bring in some of them, there’s also over three-fourths of the attendees over 65 . . . and over a six or eight week run, they drift away and the numbers at the end are the same because more friends of the retirees come, but all the younger (I’m talking 30s & 40s) folk have left. This is why you keep seeing new launches tried, because revitalization in existing churches, even when it works, tends to work with invigorating the empty-nesters and active seniors.
Creating viable intergenerational experiences is my primary goal, but it’s a tough sell. What families with kids we have active are people who have told me, specifically, “this is the only place I see people of different ages interacting, and I don’t want to go to a new church where everyone is my age and my kids are in a huge program with each grade separated out,” but those folks are not a big market segment. I think that’s a big opportunity in some ways for faith communities: to bring generations together, where nothing else in our culture does . . . but it’s not a growth strategy! NPR seems to be attempting much the same outreach, but will it get them the demographics to support the programming?
coozledad said on November 23, 2015 at 8:32 am
This is a good start, but there should be a multi-volume alcoholic history of the US.
I’ve been re-reading Hilary Mantel’s novel about the French Revolution, and she makes a good case that the decisions that opened the path to the Terror were fueled by a combination of drunkenness and the puritanical tight assed-ness of Robespierre, in addition to the allies’ determination to carve up France.
Kirk said on November 23, 2015 at 8:34 am
Alex@7: Aside from the fact that journalism is not truly a profession (no licensing, no educational requirements), your last sentence boils things down very nicely.
Julie Robinson said on November 23, 2015 at 8:34 am
Well, count me in on the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, jefftmmo! It’s often the highlight of my Christmas Eve. But I get what you’re saying, and sadly, I think my own congregation won’t make it to birthday #175 (we’re at 162 now).
And Suzanne, I also withheld $$ for several years after the split because I can’t pick up the classical station. Who wants to listen to talk radio all day? I can only take so much before I need music.
Diane Rehm has vocal dystonia, and it’s due to her incredible mind that’s she overcome what could easily have been the kiss of death in radio. What I’ve heard of her lately, though, indicates retirement is imminent. As for the rest, again, I listen to some Morning Edition and then I’m usually gone anyway. I listen to music on headphones at work, an
Julie Robinson said on November 23, 2015 at 8:36 am
Oh, for the edit button for fumble fingers in the morning. Anyway, I couldn’t focus on financial figures while listening to talk radio. That requires Bach or Chopin.
Minnie said on November 23, 2015 at 8:42 am
We have sister public stations. One plays classical. The other is week-day talk/news, including a locally produced call-in that often is interesting. Evenings are given over to a locally-produced alt music show and an excellent local jazz program. Weekends are a mix of national/local, talk/news, and music. I mostly listen to the jazz and Fresh Air.
It doesn’t bother me so much that NPR is graying. Who am I to judge? It’s wishy-washiness does.
Minnie said on November 23, 2015 at 8:43 am
Its. Where is the edit key on this thing?
jcburns said on November 23, 2015 at 9:14 am
It seems these days when we talk about a media outlet—like NPR—the tendency is to stick the whole thing into a mental blender. I listen to NPR for the news. Not “analysis,” not “commentary,” not personality nor the other shows that aren’t the news (like ‘Car Talk’)—I’m talking the actual news. Sometimes that’s only 6 minutes at the top of the hour.
I will give them money if they use those six minutes to report who, what, when, where and why. And if they do some investigative work and report the story using those same vital yet plain-vanilla components of journalism, so much the better.
I completely disagree with Coozledad that NPR’s news is slanted or spun in one way or another…but I’m okay with them bringing on people with points of view as long as they’re labeled as such and challenged when they say stuff that’s just fiction. That said, I’m glad we don’t hear much from David Gergen these days.
I do believe a journalist’s job, when someone says something demonstrably false on the air, is to challenge that statement with the facts. If that information isn’t available…okay, but if the questioner has just spent too little time preparing, well, I’m less forgiving of that.
My support will wane (indeed, as I age) if NPR news programs become filled with first person “storytelling” (I’m starting to distrust that otherwise honorable term in its increasing misuse), poor grammar, vocal-fry-y enunciation and other modern sloppiness.
I’d like to think that NPR’s executives would monitor those signs of decline as much as they monitor the demographics of their programming.
To my mind, there’s about as much connection between the people who run the newsroom and the people who decide to keep cobbling together recycled ‘Car Talk’ as there is between the execs at NBC who put ‘The Voice’ on the air and the NBC News editorial team.
brian stouder said on November 23, 2015 at 9:22 am
Agreed with jc’s pov (other than the sidelong swipe at The Voice, which we love, in our household)
Especially agreed with Jc’s comment:
I do believe a journalist’s job, when someone says something demonstrably false on the air, is to challenge that statement with the facts.
Donald Trump/New Jersey/cheering for the destruction of the WTC is only the latest bit of horseshit, which needs to be relentlessly pursued and challenged
nancy said on November 23, 2015 at 9:22 am
I’m not a Diane Rehm fan, although (and I’ve said this before and will say it until it stops amusing me) I still think hearing her say “Pussy Riot” is one of the top-five funniest moments of public radio.
She *is* bright, but she’s one of those liberal types who drive me nuts, and by that I mean that she gets her shorts in a knot when GOP Congressmen tweet during the SOTU address, because they should be paying attention to “the leader of the free world,” etc. There was also an absolutely excruciating interview with Alice Walker after 9/11 that I still recall with irritation. But yes, in general she comes to work prepared and serious about the task at hand, which you can’t say about a lot of hosts. I think she’s about done, though; her voice is very likely maintained through regular botox injections (the first person I knew who ever got botox got them in his larynx, for the same condition), and it sounds like it won’t last much longer. And at 79, it truly is time to step aside and give someone else a chance.
That said, I don’t want Terry Gross to EVER retire.
Tim said on November 23, 2015 at 9:43 am
For me, the best two hours on radio are on Saturday mornings on WBEZ, the NPR station in Chicago — “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” followed by “This American Life.” Most of the people on those shows are younger than me. Wondering if many other stations carry “Wait, Wait,” as no one else here has mentioned it.
Deborah said on November 23, 2015 at 9:46 am
I agree Terry Gross is a gem.
I was listening to Bob Edwards on NPR when 9/11 happened. I was parking my car about to go into work when he announced that a plane had crashed into the first tower. It was one of those moments when I couldn’t turn off the radio. Every once in awhile that would happen where I’d pull into my parking spot and just sit there listening.
Gin and Tacos has an interesting take on journalism, I’d like to hear what the journalists here think http://www.ginandtacos.com/2015/11/23/lets-hear-both-sides-of-this-racially-motivated-beatdown/.
nancy said on November 23, 2015 at 9:48 am
I read that G&T post this morning, and I’m in full agreement.
nancy said on November 23, 2015 at 9:49 am
Neil Steinberg was good this morning, too.
jcburns said on November 23, 2015 at 10:04 am
I agree with G&T’s conclusions about Trump and company: “This is a modern fascist movement driven almost entirely by racism, stupidity, and xenophobia.”
But I (somewhat fervently) disagree with their very next sentence: “Since that is a true statement…” Nah, uh, that is not even a verifiable statement, true or otherwise—it’s a conclusion. It’s one I agree with, but it is not observable truth in and of itself.
The (unglamorous, tedious, often unrewarding) job of the journalist is to present the facts with enough clarity and abundance that we will come to those conclusions ourselves. Or to some conclusions. Any conclusions. Our own conclusions. I know that involves a real leap of faith in assuming that the great American readership/viewership/listenership/consumership will have sufficient brain cells to rub together to do that, but unless your job description is explicitly “analysis” or “commentary” (and I emphasize explicitly) then your job is complete when you have put the unvarnished facts of the matter out there in the brightest light of day you can muster.
Have a cocktail. Your work is done. Resist the urge to use your massive brain to tell us what it all means.
Not really sure why the journalism business started to become the spoon-fed conclusion business (and yeah, I know that NPR’s promos say “we provide context! The bigger picture!”) but I think it’s malpractice if they don’t report the facts, counter bullshit laid out by public figures with facts, deal in facts, beautifully gathered and clearly written facts.
Donald Trump will choke and destruct on a steady diet of facts, given enough from enough places. He is, however, impervious to assertions.
ROGirl said on November 23, 2015 at 10:20 am
Substitute “Godless Bolshevik Commies “for “Muslims” and it will seem like not much has changed with respect to blowhard fear mongers, whipped up gullibles rubes, and mainstream media outlets and figures who fear losing their positions and access.
Minnie said on November 23, 2015 at 10:23 am
Yes to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”.
Yes to calling out falsehoods.
Yes to curtailing vocal tics and poor grammar.
Is the future tense on it’s way out? I hear NPR speakers closing a program on, say, Friday with “We are here on Monday.” It grates. This locution has trickled down to our local stations.
Deborah said on November 23, 2015 at 10:32 am
I don’t agree with your statement JC “Donald Trump will choke and destruct on a steady diet of facts, given enough from enough places.” Facts don’t seem to matter one bit to at least 25% of the population, maybe more.
jcburns said on November 23, 2015 at 10:35 am
We’ll see how it plays out.
Judybusy said on November 23, 2015 at 10:48 am
I listen to NPR every morning, often beginning with Marketplace. We are very fortunate in MN as we have 3 stations. Fridays are a highlight because a meteorologist from the U of MN gets on and talks weather, recapping the week and telling us what’s ahead. His name is Mark Seely and he’s done a ton of research about climate change. I was lucky enough to hear him speak at one of my master gardeners’ meetings. Also, remember you can stream radio from anywhere in the world via their online app.
Speaking of climate change, I was able to turn the compost yesterday–very late to be doing that. This weekend we also went to see a great show, a local band, Southside Aces and Wisconsin’s Mama Digdown’s Brass band. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiavFmheEMQ Mama began the show by marching in from the lobby, getting us all on our feet and clapping. This is no small feat for white Minnesotans! Deborah, if you like that kind of music, I think they play in Chicago with some regularity. And Sue, they of course play around Wisconsin. We know of Southside Aces because they often play at local burlesque shows. It was a total fluke we caught this show–I’d gone to have coffee and saw the poster.
Cooz, I will have to add Mantel’s book on the French revolution to my list. Thanks.
alex said on November 23, 2015 at 10:57 am
Edward R. Murrow managed to turn the tide of public opinion against Joseph McCarthy by confronting him with facts, but I suspect things might have turned out differently had there been a pro-McCarthy network like Fox delivering counterfactual news 24/7. In today’s media environment, I suspect Murrow wouldn’t even be able to confront McCarthy the way he did.
Deborah said on November 23, 2015 at 11:16 am
Judy Busy that video was at the Green Mill in Chicago, a pretty cool place I’ve been to a couple of times. Very unpretentious and they’ve had some good shows.
brian stouder said on November 23, 2015 at 11:33 am
Alex, an interesting point, regarding McCarthy.
I think in 2015, he’d still end up politically shunned, but he’d get his own show on Fox, and have a syndicated radio show, and maybe even defeat his substance-abuse addictions (as Oxy-Rush did)
Sue said on November 23, 2015 at 11:48 am
“Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Trump said on the Fox News Channel on Sunday morning. “I have a lot of fans, and they were not happy about it. And this was a very obnoxious guy who was a troublemaker who was looking to make trouble.”
Huh. Trump refers to his supporters as ‘fans’.
alex said on November 23, 2015 at 11:50 am
Trump refers to his supporters as ‘fans’.
Well he can’t very well refer to them as chumps. Even though it has a nice ring to it.
Charlotte said on November 23, 2015 at 11:57 am
Ugh NPR — sort of. Can’t listen to Diane Rehm — not only does her voice make me crazy, her anti-semitic weirdness toward Bernie Sanders was the last nail. The dead Click-and-Clack makes me nuts, but I was done with them before the one died — it sounds like Henny Youngman or someone now — old old old schtick. Terry Gross is great on music and musicians, and seems to have a real mental block about imaginative work — fiction or movies — she can’t seem to wrap her brain around the notion that sometimes people Make Things Up That Are NOT Autobiographical. Mostly I stopped listening to NPR news when they dove deep into the False Equivalency hole. I usually make it about five minutes before howling in rage and turning them off.
We have terrible reception out here — so I mostly listen to podcasts. NPR has a great crop of younger talent in the pipeline — the Pop Culture Happy Hour crew are terrific, as are the Books and Tiny Desk Concert podcasts. I like some of the Slate podcasts although their reflexive contrarianism drives me kind of nuts. For news, I rely on the BBC World News Morning Commute podcast — in much the same way I’ve migrated from the New York Times to the Guardian for online news. I like the non-US focus …
but about half the time I’m driving down valley I”m fed up with them all and listen to knitting podcasts, or Splendid Table/Food 52, or Marc Maron (who does good interviews even with people I don’t really care about).
Judybusy said on November 23, 2015 at 12:22 pm
Oh, good lord, I’d never had heard Diane Rehm and had to check her out. Is it ageist to say she sounds at death’s door? The shakiness, etc would bother me. She just doesn’t sound authoritative.
Connie said on November 23, 2015 at 12:30 pm
Diane Rehm has a vocal cord disease, has had for some years. Deal with it people.
Jenine said on November 23, 2015 at 12:50 pm
I’m an NPR listener and it’s a shorthand description of my politics as well. But yeah, the whole thing is aging and hidebound. I still listen sometimes to Zombie Car Talk but it feels like half tribute / half exploitation / half denial (Click and Clack would appreciate those fractions).
No one has mentioned the slow bass voice from Minnesota yet… I read a great metafilter.com thread about Prairie Home Companion and how very intensely some people hate it. I like it but have been saying goodbye for a while. I wonder if it will survive GK’s departure.
Charlotte, I like your description of TG’s entirely autobiographical approach. I usually like her interviews but sometimes she is laser-focused on something that isn’t there. And sometimes she asks about things that are too private. I end up wanting to be the subject’s attorney — ‘No more questions. We are done here!’
Deborah said on November 23, 2015 at 12:53 pm
I have a cousin who has the same vocal cord disorder as Diane Rehm. I don’t know if he gets Botox injections. That sounds like a horribly painful procedure unless they knock you out first. I’ve seen videos of women getting Botox injections in their faces without any apparent local anesthetic. It looks excruciating.
Julie Robinson said on November 23, 2015 at 12:59 pm
Wait, Wait is on here Saturdays at 11, and makes ironing much more tolerable.
I heard part of the Bernie Sanders interview and it’s one of the reasons I think it’s time for Diane to retire. She’s not so sharp anymore.
And as much as I complain about our NPR station, at least we have one. My sister’s station in West Palm Beach got a new board, who proceeded to sell off the signal. No more classical music, no more news, nothing. I showed her how to stream other signals, like the marvelous Minnesota stations, but she’s not that savvy. She’s in a rehab hospital for a broken knee, and they have no wifi*, so I sent her one of those cheapie Kindle tablets filled up with music, books to read, and a set of headphones.
This is unimaginable to me. Most of the other folk there don’t seem to mind, but no one can get a cell signal either, and that they do mind.
brian stouder said on November 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm
On the subject of age, have you tuned in a network newscast lately?
The CBS guy looks ancient, although NBC has a relative kiddo with Lester Holt.
Thinking back, though, Walter Cronkite was always an ‘old guy’, when I was a kiddo. But he had been to the war and lived to broadcast the news, and a template was set (I think), wherein you can trust the old guy.
Whereas newspapers had the old-style fonts for their front page masthead, the newfangled TV news had the old-style white males for their mastheads.
Aside from that, I’m not sure that news is any more crooked or dishonest now, than at any other time. Really, with internets/social media, fact-checking and skepticism is lots easier than before
basset said on November 23, 2015 at 2:25 pm
Mrs. B. and I were big PHC fans back when it was new and original in the early 80s – she even won an award for “shyest biscuits” in a listener contest in Kansas – but particularly since GK’s return it just seems to be both repetitive and self-consciously clever. We listen to Cousin Brucie on Sirius if we’re in the car Saturday or Sunday, PHC is no longer of interest.
jcburns said on November 23, 2015 at 2:41 pm
Scott Pelley at CBS is 57. Charlie Rose is 73. Gayle King is 60. Norah O’Donnell is 41.
NBC’s Lester Holt is 59. Brian Williams is 56. Savannah Guthrie is 43 years old. Matt Lauer is 57.
ABC’s David Muir is 42. George Stephanopoulos is 54.
PBS’s Gwen Ifill is 60. Judy Woodruff is 69. Hari Sreenivasan is 41.
brian stouder said on November 23, 2015 at 2:49 pm
JC – interesting list.
I would have guessed Scott Pelley to have been late 60’s/early 70’s, at least.
Dan Rather, who turns up on Rachel Maddow’s show from time to time, looks no older than Pelley
brian stouder said on November 23, 2015 at 2:52 pm
…and Uncle Google tells me that Mr Rather is 84(!)
jcburns said on November 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm
Oh, and by the way, ‘Cousin Brucie’ Morrow is 80. Garrison Keillor is 73. Chris Thile, the guy replacing him, is 34. Susan Stamberg is 77. Bob Edwards is 68. And Bob Edwards’ current wife, NPR newscaster Windsor Johnston, is 38. OK, I’ll stop now.
ROGirl said on November 23, 2015 at 3:02 pm
The ads on the evening network newscasts speak to the demographic of its viewers like nothing else. The Viagra commercials alone must run on every single one. I can’t keep track of all the other prescription drug ads, they all blend into one another after a while.
jcburns said on November 23, 2015 at 3:03 pm
If the ED ads blend into each other for more than 4 hours, see your doctor.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2015 at 3:06 pm
Savannah Guthrie is NOT 43. Wow.
I heard Terry Gross was going over to do a wine reviewing show on Sirius, but it was Alec Baldwin saying so . . .
Now I hear, as we’re about to plunge into downtown Columbus with two school buses of marching band youth to join 38 other school buses to pack the Palace Theatre to hear the Marching 110 (which my son hopes to be in next year!), that The Donald is six blocks away at the same time. So I’d better take a fully charged Kindle and an empty bottle with me. Sigh.
Julie Robinson said on November 23, 2015 at 3:21 pm
Scott Pelley’s news delivery is almost as slow as Ben Carson. I guess he’s trying to project an air of calm, but it’s too laidback, as if nothing is all that important. And, it’s the NEWS, right?
jcburns said on November 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm
So less sobriety, OK. I think you want David Muir, the guy who artifically yanks everything into the faux present tense, where everything is “breaking now”, “just coming in now”, “all eyes are on,” and people have never said anything, they are “saying” it.
nancy said on November 23, 2015 at 3:42 pm
I thought that started with Shepherd Smith on Fox — the present-tensing of everything. He also does the sentence-fragment thing, although I can’t reproduce it here. It’s like he’s a human teletype machine, perma-set to FIVE-BELL FLASH.
Julie Robinson said on November 23, 2015 at 3:43 pm
Nope, though he’s easy on the eyes. We’ve landed ourselves with Lester, who I see is the same age as we are. Oof.
Paul Woodford said on November 23, 2015 at 4:14 pm
Car Talk & Prairie Home Companion, my biggest beefs too. NPR needs to be looking for new talent. I remember Stars & Stripes asking its overseas readers, on the occasion of Bill Watterson retiring from drawing the Calvin & Hobbes strip, whether they wanted it replaced with something new or just see old strips again. Naturally, the majority wanted Calvin & Hobbes forever, no matter that the strips were repeats. I suppose something like this happened with Car Talk and PHC, or at least that is the excuse NPR will cite, but I no longer listen on the weekends.
MichaelG said on November 23, 2015 at 4:26 pm
I absolutely can’t stand Susan Stamberg or Linda Wertheimer. I turn the radio off instantly when I hear one of them. Never could take Garrison Keillor. He’s another instant offer. I love me some Nina Totenberg and I especially like Rachel Martin on Sunday morning. Our local station is a jazz station when it isn’t playing NPR programing, although it does have some local programming. There is a sister station that plays classical.
Jakash said on November 23, 2015 at 4:44 pm
So many of the pharmaceutical ads on TV amaze me. Why some of the nasty side effects that they are evidently required to mention aren’t deal-breakers for folks tuning in is a mystery to me. It’s one thing to have them listed in tiny print on a piece of paper that gets promptly thrown away when you pick up a prescription. To have them highlighted as much as the supposed benefits from taking the drug seems like a whole different thing. I guess not, though, or the tube would not be festooned with such ads.
Danny said on November 23, 2015 at 4:57 pm
Nancy, I still recall your account of switching around radio stations on 9/11 because GK was on NPR and “Mr. Sunday Morning Avuncularity” was not cutting it. That description has stuck with me over the years for some reason.
nancy said on November 23, 2015 at 5:03 pm
Yep, they were doing “Writer’s Almanac,” because NPR at that time had no breaking-news functionality in place. Cable news really pushed them in that direction.
I wonder what the poem was that day. I bet it’s on the web somewhere.
EDIT: It is! And it’s Charles Bukowski! Excellent.
Scout said on November 23, 2015 at 5:09 pm
NPR lost its way when public funding got squeezed. Once they had to start taking money from corporate sponsors they became as transparently corporate as the rest of the major media. Like Charlotte said, “Mostly I stopped listening to NPR news when they dove deep into the False Equivalency hole. I usually make it about five minutes before howling in rage and turning them off.” Me too. The way they report on people like Trump and Carson, as if they are actually serious people, tells me everything I need to know about what NPR has become. They are terrified at being labeled liberal and they seem to overcompensate to prove they’re not. I particularly dislike Mara Liar-son and will switch away as soon as I hear her name.
We have a pretty good local station, and the local reporting is decent. After 8 pm they go to jazz programming, and they also have a sister classical station.
I’ve always loved Diane Rehm, even while her voice issue drives me crazy. The Bernie interview was very bad, and I was disappointed in her for a long time after that. I agree that it is probably time for her to step aside and let Susan Page or whoever take over.
Terri Gross is awesome. Interestingly (to me, anyway) she looks nothing like she sounds.
ROGirl said on November 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm
David Muir also uses the term “the heartland” for flyover country. He voices it in a treacly tone that I find condescending and nauseating, much like the “creamy sincerity” of his predecessor, Diane Sawyer.
Charlotte said on November 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm
The Marc Maron interview with Terri Gross is *priceless*! The Maron one is better than the Fresh Air one but it’s behind the premium paywall now:(http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/episode_604_-_terry_gross). Here’s the link to the Fresh Air version they did as a companion piece: http://www.npr.org/2015/05/23/408773680/fresh-air-weekend-marc-maron-interviews-terry-gross-lettermans-producer
Do not get me started on Garrison Keillor. The smug, it burns. We’re stuck with the poetry thing in the morning here, and I remember my dear departed brother ranting about the “Be good, keep in touch” sign off. Which does give me a tiny chuckle if I happen upon it on my drive home in the mornings. Made him nuts.
I do wish they’d let some of their clever younger talent loose. I like Audie Cornish, who just moved up to the evening news. And I never watch TV news anymore — what’s the point? No wonder everyone is so crazy — listening to that all day (yes Mom, I’m talking to you).
Colleen said on November 23, 2015 at 5:57 pm
Methinks they should let Car Talk go, but the local stations can’t afford to kill that particular cash cow. I never got into PHC, even when I was working at the local station. The show that makes me change the channel immediately isn’t an NPR show, but (I think) CBC….Vinyl Cafe. Ugh. Sundays at noon will find me somewhere else.
I listen to the NPR One app when I have a chance. It’ll throw some different things in there, and I enjoy having something outside my wheelhouse come my way now and then.
Jakash said on November 23, 2015 at 6:13 pm
A fun piece about some of the top commenters on the N. Y. Times website. I recognize most, but not all of the names, as I often find the comments to certain Times pieces more valuable than the articles. Anyway, since y’all are part of Nancy’s own distinguished Commentariat here at nn.c, I thought some of you folks might find this interesting:
David C. said on November 23, 2015 at 6:19 pm
I only listen to news in the car and it’s BBC World Service on Sirius. Their news on the US is far better than anything produced in the US and it’s a gift to see yourself as others see you. I haven’t listened to NPR (Nice Polite Republicans) in years. I stream BBC 1 for pop music and BBC 6 for alt/modern/world music, and sometimes BBC 3 when I’m in a classical mood. With any luck, David Cameron won’t mess it all up.
Suzanne said on November 23, 2015 at 8:07 pm
I loved that NY Times piece on the top commenters! I can read the NY Times online everyday at work. Security settings must wipe out something so it doesn’t remember that I was there yesterday. I never hit my limit!
I admit that I comment on a rare occasion and once, my comment was an NYT pick. I was kind of excited, probably more than I should have been. But it made me smile.
Deborah said on November 23, 2015 at 8:22 pm
“Whereas newspapers had the old-style fonts for their front page masthead, the newfangled TV news had the old-style white males for their mastheads.” So good Brian, a thread winner in my book.
I used to listen to PHC way back when, because my grandfather had a radio show in the rural Midwest and I always thought that maybe it would have sounded a bit like PHC only probably a lot more amateur. My grandfather wrote songs and played a one man band. He also told funny stories. He died when I was 12 and we lived thousands of miles away from him when I was growing up. I only heard a few recordings. I saw GK once at the Albuquerque airport, he looked disheveled and terrible, this was maybe 6 or 8 years ago? And speaking of the Albuquerque airport, LB and I are at a restaurant in Albuqurque right now killing time before we go to the airport to pick up my husband who is coming to SF for thanksgiving.
Dexter said on November 23, 2015 at 8:27 pm
David Shuster of al-Jazeera is my favorite news guy.
Hey, why is Trump catching so much hell for his statement about watching people cheer the burning Twin Towers in Jersey City? Even Carson backed off his support of The Donald’s claim, saying he must have seen film shot in the Middle East.
I know the horrible massacre didn’t exactly overly excite some people. https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/9/2/1314964814888/Young-people-chat-as-the–005.jpg
There was a lot of distortion that day…read this complicated morass: http://www.snopes.com/rumors/cnn.asp
Jolene said on November 23, 2015 at 8:59 pm
Some time back, when Brian Williams was a frequent guest on David Letterman, he said that he was pleased to be able to report that he didn’t yet need any of the products advertised on his show, i.e., ED drugs, Depends, lift chairs for stairways, and so on. Eventually, of course, he will, like the rest of us, be glad those products exist.
Sherri said on November 23, 2015 at 9:53 pm
The advisory board doesn’t have any power to stop the deal, but a lot of people are unhappy about KUOW buying KPLU: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/kplu-advisory-board-votes-to-oppose-radio-stations-sale/
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2015 at 11:34 pm
It’s a sad, sad world where the Ohio University Marching 110 in their season finale concert in Columbus draws 2,500 in the Palace Theatre, and Donald Trump up High Street six or seven blocks at the convention center pulls in 14,000. I know we got the better show. Long train running!
Deborah said on November 24, 2015 at 12:00 am
Trying to type with my thumbs on my iPhone. I don’t know how people do this. I’ve mispelled nearly every single word, then auto correct fixes it, or not. I’m still at the airport, killing time.
Carter Cleland said on November 24, 2015 at 4:17 pm
I listen to NPR almost exclusively and don’t really see the issue with CAR Talk – it’s pretty brilliant even in dead co-host/rerun mode. And check out SOUND OPINIONS if you get it where you are. (Not where you’re at, but where you are). What I would like explained to me is the current tendency of news readers (and the public at large, I guess)to insert an “ssh” at the beginning of every word that starts with an “str”. So street becomes sshtreet, struggle becomes sshtruggle, and stress becomes sshtress. Audie Cornish is the most regular abuser on NPR, but WBEZ here in Chicago has some folks too that can’t get through a sentence containing an “str” w/o ssh-ing it up.
Lydia said on November 28, 2015 at 9:20 am
When I hear the Jessica Hansen ( I looked up her name) announce the underwriters I turn off NPR. Her warm smiling voice talking about cancer treatments (and everything) are like fingernails on the chalkboard of my brain. ( I have even written NPR to complain. I only listen on Sunday afternoons – Wait-Wait, On the Media, TAL.
Now there are other choices. We have a great local station now with some national talk but also local talk in the afternoons and a great varied music schedule (WRIR- Richmond). I also listen to other stations with our Roku where I can save archived programs of DJ’s I like from WFMU-NYC/JERSEY) or stream French Radio where they talk very little and it’s all in French (FIP)