June 16, 2005

Good Public Radio? Hardly

Bloglanta: The Classic Public Radio Battle

I've been in Atlanta for several years, but prior to that, I lived in St. Louis, with a kick-ass NPR affiliate. KWMU was one of the best NPR stations I've had the pleasure to listen to, and I listened to it throughout college. Why?

Check out the lineup: 1-3, Talk Of The Nation. 3-4, Fresh Air. 4-6:30, All Things Considered. 6:30-7, Marketplace. 7-12, Repeats of Talk Of The Nation, Fresh Air, and usually another program. And then at midnight, BBC World Service overnight. Weekends had pretty much everything you could want: My Word, Car Talk, Whadda Ya Know, and a ton of other entertaining, fun programs, much of it local. I was in hog heaven.

This morning, I got up and once again cursed the fact I live in Atlanta, purely on the existence of Lois Reitzes on our NPR station. Why?

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Let's start with the fact that she trills.


Yes: trills. There is no other accurate word for it. She sounds precisely like someone who has decided that she must educate all us heathens on the wonderfulness of Bach (pronounced "Bac...hHHHH"). Her voice reminds me of a matron of an upper class crust household with nothing better to do than "give back to the poor, benighted little people". It literally makes me want to toss the radio across the room, I'm so besotted with condescending good will. (And it doesn't help when the person whom I'm linking to says "... and her job is to save us from ourselves.")

Then, there's the number of hours: "Six hours of classical music, back to back." That's six hours from 9-3. There's more after 8, and overnight it's all classical.

For chrissakes, I can stand six hours straight of only a few things. Six hours of classical music is nuts. I've got nothing against classical music, really. It's not my cup of tea, but I do love some pieces: "Rodeo" has always stirred me into a reverie, and Mozart's Fifth still gives me chills. Six hours of it would kill me.

I'd complain about the strange attitude that anything post-1960 is contemporary (one morning I heard a list of 5 movie scores, and was shocked to hear that this was Ms. Reitzes' way of being "with it".) but in classical music terms, I suppose it is. Think about this, though: three were done before I was born, and the other two were made before I went to school.

And then add to the fact that she's the programming director as well? Yes, I can do without Lois Reitzes.

This is not a battle. Less people are listening to classical; more want news. So in the end, when the pledges don't come in because people like me won't send in cash to be told, as if I were five, how wonderful six hours of music I can't stand will be, things will change.

Posted by Ted Stevko at June 16, 2005 02:20 AM | TrackBack