I love public radio. I’ve known this for years, but recently I’ve realized that what I really love is Chicago Public Radio.
#3 – Sound Opinions (American Public Media)- The “world’s only rock n roll talk show.” I discovered this gem when I was suffering from delusions of becoming a marathoner. (See Stuff White People Like #27) Our local NPR station plays it at 6 a.m. on Saturdays which is an ungodly hour, but hosts Jim DeRogatis of the Sun-Times and Greg Kot of the Tribune helped me get out of bed, into my Adidas and down to the trail. This show is fantastic because it’s two guys who really love music, they don’t always agree, but they don’t bicker. When they talk about a band they play a informatively long clip of one of their songs. It’s like hanging out in your vinyl-collector friend’s basement, in a comfy beat up armchair from the 70s. It is surprisingly un-pretentious. Ok, now, they will flex their indie cred, but not in this “OH MY GOD HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW BLITZEN TRAPPER?!?!” kind of way. (They <3 Blitzen Trapper) Their un-jerkiness really comes across in their Rock Doctors segment where a listener calls/writes in with a musical problem. Usually they are in a rut, or recently, they had a couple on that had radically different music taste (him = Dave Matthews and GreenDay, her = Wilco and other stuff that doesn't such like Dave Matthews and GreenDay do. I said THEY weren't jerks, I didn't say I wasn't. They did make fun of DMB guy a bit, but not as much as your super-indie-jerk friend would have. We all have one.). Anyway, the "patient" describes albums they like and what they're looking for (something to rock out to, something for the couple to listen to together) and Jim and Greg offer up a prescription – they send them the music, give them some time to listen to it and they bring them back on to talk about how they liked it. It's super fun.
#2 – Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me (National Public Radio) – All you cable-having folk go to Jon Stewart for your humorous news. My heart lies with another hilarious, liberal, chosen-person news host – Peter Sagal. (Of course I also love Jon Stewart, it’s #37) Tonight I got to see the Wait Wait live show. I was thrilled when I found out Roy Blount Jr. would be on the panel. A lot of people my age are Mo fans – largely because of the connection with the aforementioned fake news host/dreamboat Jon Stewart, and while I do love me a good Mo tangent – there ain’t nothin’ like a Roy Blount Jr. tangent. I am a big fan of the quietly hilarious person, probably because I’m not one of them. He just has such a good comedic sense. Tonight we got to see the uncut wait wait which was over 90 minutes. Roy seemed to have a good sense of what jokes were definitely going to make the cut and repeated those themes throughout the broadcast. I am a total nerd to break this down and analyze it, but he’s fantastic. Kyrie O’Connor and Charlie Pierce were the other two panelists. Kyrie is not my favorite, but she always has some great lines. She was pretty quiet tonight, which was weird, I hope she’s ok. Charlie has a laugh that can cause inexperienced listeners to ram their cars into the fender of the car in front of them. He also is the guy who always “goes there.” I loved loved getting to see the wait wait crew live, AND now I know all the answers! So if you listen to it with a friend, roommate, family members, SO, or whatever and want to be super impressive, I may be willing to give you some hints . . .
#1 This American Life (Public Radio International) – This really has been the best year of my life as a public radio listener. In addition to the aforementioned wwdtm show, I saw Ira Glass live in person in April, and then went to the live show beamed to my local movie theater. So much Ira, so much dorky goodness. I am a total This American Life nerd. I have listened to every episode multiple times. At the keynote Ira gave in April, he’d reference an episode or play a clip, and I knew exactly what episode it was and could usually finish the person’s sentence. Total nerd. According to a friend of mine he has never seen me “geek out” as much as I did at the TAL live show (and we were only seeing Ira on screen). TAL is brilliant, hilarious, ridiculous, informative, heart wrenching and all the good stuff good stuff is supposed to be. Plus, they have TAL paint by number sets. How else would I have a poorly painted flaming squirrel in my living room if not for TAL? Oh and how sweet was it that Squirrel Cop reappeared?! I <3 Squirrel Cop!
Rock over London, rock on Chicago.