I am not an NPR listener.
Most, if not all, of the people who know me, some well, are surprised. Let's say, dismayed. Borderline distraught. Because I am the prototypical and stereotypical NPR listener.
It's not that I don't like NPR. I do. A lot. In fact, I love the very idea of NPR. I am, after all, a borderline socialist. Yet I never, ever listen to national public radio -- which represents three things I believe in and love whole heartedly. How come?
I'm not often in positions where NPR makes sense. When I wake up in the morning and shower -- the one time during which I listen to the radio as such (not online; I listen to online radio at other times) -- I want music, energetic music. Not talk, not news, not views. I read several newspapers every day during my time on the train, so I don't need radio for news. And because I don't drive to work, I don't have the luxury of drive time with the radio, during which I would listen to NPR -- or books on tape, something else I just don't do. (For different reasons. I also love the idea of books on tape, but outside of the great courses or old-time radio MP3's, I've yet to delve into audio books.)
I also associate NPR with a very specific time of my life. During the summer of 1991 (as well as other successive short periods), I worked for the Milton Courier, a weekly newspaper in southern Wisconsin with a circulation of less than 4,000 (shout out: Doug Welch!), as an intern.
As an intern for the small-town weekly, I wrote stories, edited stories, copy edited stories, took photos, developed photos, wrote captions for my and other photos, designed ads, wrote ads, laid out papers using a waxer (!!!), took papers off the press, loaded papers in the van, delivered papers to vendors, and collected unsold papers from those self-same vendors.
While down in the deep-dark basement, chock full of mouldering piles of the tabloid's back issues, of the Courier's offices, developing said film, I could listen to one of two things: NPR on the tape-playing radio or Harry Chapin cassettes (Doug's fave). I listened to both, in great abundance. Of the two, I tired of NPR, but not of Chapin's music. (Even though I did have a negative reaction to Chapin for awhile, just as I did the pancakes I cooked at Camp Indian Trails.)
What's the diff?
NPR is timely. Chapin is timeless. And one, more than the other, fit into my broader interest of music -- while, as a fledgling media dietician, I was enamored by current events and commentary, but not radio outside of music.
(Regardless, I still consider both in the light of unhealthy photographic development chemicals, many to this day unknown -- and doused on my hands and poured down an ill-designed sick sink. Both NPR and Harry Chapin will always be associated with somewhat-conscious local environmental pollution because of the Courier's photo-chemical sink setup.)
For the last hour, at the behest of my newly formal and totally awesome girlfriend, I listened to what I thought was NPR. It wasn't "This American Life," but it was WNYC-FM, and I was taken back in time -- and rhyme -- because of Net radio.
Do you listen to NPR? How come? And how so?