Saturday, September 7, 2013

Why I Listen to National Public Radio

As a kid, my heart would sink on those evenings that Dad settled himself in front of the TV after dinner. Invariably he'd tune in to Channel 9, KCTS, our local PBS station. There was little that could convince him to turn to That Girl or The Waltons or whatever I'd been looking forward to watching. Instead we'd be doomed to a close up view of butterflies and their migration patterns, or how to make a china hutch, or something scintillating about World War 2. Occasionally I'd sit and watch with him, out of my desperation to watch something; more often than not I would slink off to my room. But those evenings I spent watching PBS with Dad always turned out way better than I had anticipated.

Since I discovered National Public Radio, things are different for me.

Early morning, when my house is quiet and a sink full of dishes is laughing at me, I reach for the radio and turn on Morning Edition, NPR's in-depth news from all over. Likewise, during afternoon errands or returning home from distant appointments, I tune into All Things Considered, and find myself in places I will likely never go, learning about things that I didn't even know existed!

I love NPR!

The news is more in-depth than you get on most networks, there might be various segments on the same topic. I like that. It gives me something to sink my teeth into. I may not agree with what I hear, but it stimulates my thinking. I am exposed to more international news through NPR; the problems people face, even thousands of miles away, become tangible to me.

Say a recession hits a community in a rural area. We'll hear stories of the owners of the factory that is shutting down, the employees who are being laid off, and a customer who has depended on that factory's product. I've heard freedom fighters in the Middle East and aid workers in Africa and a family who took their kids out of school for a year to travel the world (that's 29 countries on 6 continents!). This sumer they did a series on American Public Libraries with such intriguing titles as How Andrew Carnegie Turned His Fortune Into a Library Legacy, and For Disaster Preparedness: Pack a Library Card? Just this week they ran a story on an auto auction that will take place later this month in Nebraska. It will feature 500 cars from the Lambrecht Chevrolet Dealership in Pierce, which closed in 1996. Many of the cars are brand new, such as a 1958 Cameo pick-up truck with only 1.3 miles on its odometer!

Each morning, as our local NPR affiliate is about to start their jazz programming at 9:00, they play a short segment called BirdNote, with wonderful stories of birds and much chirping and singing. StarDate is another brief by highly informative and fascinating program that airs on NPR.

I love the banter between the hosts, the fun everyone seems to be having. Then there's the insightful questions on hard subjects and the thoughtful responses that teach me something new. It's a terribly inviting place that expands my world.  I thinkNPR is great!

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