Even though Arizona Public Media’s 363-day fall pledge drive campaign ended yesterday, I’m still here in the studio with my mitts wrapped around the microphone, encouraging listeners to call in their support because, son of a gun, I love these knuckleheads. My mini-goal in this hour is to raise hackles, and I can tell you right now we only have 300 irritated listeners to go.
Even though the drive is over, we still have semiconscious volunteers slumped over their granola bowls waiting to take your call. And make it snappy because the last chatterbox who called thought it was a Story Corps moment.
I want to read the made-up names of people who called in to pledge : Dizzy Chicklepants, thank you for your support and no, we won’t play “Misty” for you. Warren Buffett, thanks for the dime. Thanks Jane Doe, a listener placed in Vail by the federal Witness Protection Program! Dr. Mananga Nangbong says if Fitzsimmons gets off the air, he’ll pledge a grand. Thank you, Dr. Mangle Bong, the renowned “Oscar Wilde of Oro Valley.”
I won’t bother reciting the numbers to call, because if you’re my age you can’t remember your statins half the time, let alone your Trader Joe’s shopping list. Just make your pledge online with the help of your great-great-grandchild next time Master Meals on Wheels comes over to visit. Let me give you a heads up: He’s fed up with you constantly saying, ”Know what I heard on NPR today?” Unplug the podcasts, Encyclopedia Brown, and step outside. “Fresh Air” is more than a show. Try getting some.
When I’m not imitating Diane Rehm for the amusement of my Mensa chums, I’m enjoying Classical 90.5 because I can imagine their wax spinner carrying nothing but a Shostakovich vinyl and a viola as he jumped over the Berlin Wall in ’79. Listen to what I learned from Herr Wolfman :
“That was the ‘Pi Nocturne’, by Appletini Cul De Sac, Kershel listing 3.14159265359 — performed by the Vienna Stooges: Larry, Curly, Moe and Mozart. Tragically, Shemp was forced to leave the group in 1989 because he suffered from Verdi-go, the irrational fear of falling into an orchestra pit out of a opera house balcony.” Fascinating!
For the best in radio news and talk, tune into NPR 89.1, a number on the dial that’s easy to remember because 89.1 is the resting pulse of Carl Kasell.
I start each day with “Morning Edition” because I need to know how the war is going in East Wherever-the-hell-it-is. And that’s after listening overnight to live BBC reports on the London Blitz and the dreadful V-2 rockets that nearly struck Downton Abbey. Garrison Keillor’s rambling hallucinations about a “Lake Wobegon” are a must listen for analysts studying high-functioning delusionals. And kudos to Ira Flatow for “Science Friday”! His piece on the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics, Sean Hannity, was amazing. He made Hannity’s theory that dense matter — his viewers — can thrive in a parallel universe — Fox News — easy to understand.
In this age of right and left, NPR is the only radio source left to get it right. Nothing sums up NPR’s high ethical standards better than “To the best of our knowledge.” It might as well be called “Hey, we could be wrong.” And in a nation where 89 percent of Americans believe shish kebab is a terrorist group, reliable journalism matters.
I think of the NPR personalities as old friends. Not because of their wit and warmth, but because I work in isolation. Tom Hanks had Wilson the volleyball. I have Terry Gross. I tell people Diane Rehm and Ira Glass are my favorites only because I can’t pronounce Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson’s name . The only thing I love more than NPR is the thought of CPR delivered by Rene Montagne in an ER.
Call and make a pledge of $25, and you’ll receive an NPR mug made from the compacted ashes of Juan Williams’ soul. For $50, you’ll get a “Car Talk” Click and Clack fashionable halter top for your Magliozzies. Seventy-five dollars will get you Neal Conan’s résumé and a box of melted chocolates. For $100, a Nina Totenberg tote bag with a matching NPR pill caddy for your statins!
Thanks to all who called in their support this week. University security says I gotta go. That’s OK. A “Prairie Home Companion” is about to start and I’m supposed to listen with all of my close personal friends down at the Arroyo Cafe. Call in your pledge now.