Monday, July 1, 2013

Radio Ga Ga

I've been riding my bike to work pretty religiously this summer.  I don't like to have anything on/in my ears when I ride (it's not safe and I prefer to "be in the moment"), so I haven't been getting my (diminishing) dosage of news and talk radio.  Although I seldom even turn on a radio anymore, for many years I was an avid National Public Radio listener.  I still think of myself as a fan/supporter of NPR; it's just that my heart is too weak to listen to the coverage of the grim world/country we live in.  Well, that and every time NPR tries to do humor, my stomach turns a bit.  I'd still say their cultural and arts coverage is parless as are many of the shows - both produced by the local NPR affiliate and the nationally syndicated shows (Radio Lab and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me come to mind) - are still bright spots in the media landscape.  Even though NPR can not keep pace with some of the better Internet news outlets, I find that NPR is still informative and can still stoke my imagination and curiosity.

If I listened to NPR on the way to and from work when I was driving, lunch time was all Rush Limbaugh.  I'm pretty fascinated with the twisted old fuck.  His rhetoric and fear mongering should offend me, but it is easy for me to keep his blathering in perspective for two reasons:  1.)  Like many pundits, he's politics' version of a pro wrestler - a lot of flash and bluster, not too much substance.  2.)  Try as I might, I can't find a single bit of logic in most of his positions.  Seriously - I made it a personal challenge for a month or two to tune in every day, and do my best to have an open mind.  The foundations of any position he takes are based on assumptions that are subjective and flawed, dooming anything that comes out of his pie hole as more or less "unless you're watering and mowing it, you brown people get off my lawn!"  Ultimately, I could never tune in for more than 15 minutes or so for a reason that might surprise you:  it just made me tired to listen him.  I mean, he gets soooo angry everyday - I wonder how he has the energy to do it.  I wonder how he psyches himself up for the show.  I wonder how he winds down after the show.  Maybe he goes the the animal shelter after work and kicks puppies.  At any rate, he's okay to listen to in tiny doses.  I suppose I should thank old RL for the whole host of hilarious local spin offs who think they can out-Limbaugh Limbaugh.  Talk about going off the deep end.  They make Dennis Miller sound like a bleeding heart liberal.

If I'm in range of some of the AM sports stations, I make it a point to listen to them.  Honestly, you won't find a lot of insight on these shows*, but they are useful to hear what's on an average sports fan's mind.  I tend to be entertained by them the most when they delve into an athlete's mind/persona, or when they explore in depth key games/events in a particular sport.  My heart goes out to the local dudes that host call in shows (Mark Patrick and JMV) - their is a wealth of idiots that call into those shows, but they always handle them with grace and charm.

Lastly, every once in a blue moon I catch the local swap shows and evangelists.  I must admit that it is the evangelists that I have the least amount of tolerance for, but the swap shows are great.  It feels like a bit of Americana somehow.  These are folks who'd never use Craig's List even if they heard of it, and I love them for that.  There's something really cool about hearing the voice of the seller and the buyer.  Not sure what it is.

Talk/news radio has less and less of a role in my life, but I'm not sure it will ever go away.

* - This past Friday night, I heard a commentator on ESPN radio posit that the reason there has been a spike of NFL players getting in trouble with the law (Aaron Hernandez among them) is because the player's union negotiated more free time into their contract.  That's right:  he was essentially using the old "idle hands (and labor unions) are the devil's playthings".  Shit you not.

Oh - and if you needed it - here is the source for the post title.

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