I guarantee this will make you smarter
I am in love with a lot of things in life.
My husband. My dogs. My king-sized bed. The picture with my Dad and I on the mantle piece with our hands raised in triumph. Even the home fried chicken that is sold from the back of the white, beaten up van outside my office gate.
I am also in love with NPR.
I discovered NPR ( National Public Radio) quite by accident fifteen years ago. I had returned to my tiny, one bedroom apartment after a long day at a TV studio in Boston, Massachusetts where I produced a news programme. Because I worked 16 hours a day creating television news, the last thing I wanted to do was turn on another set when I came home, so I bought a colourful red radio whose brightness cheered up my space.
After one ridiculously stressful night I turned the dial searching for my favourite smooth jazz station and stumbled across a great interview with the singer, Jewel. Remember this was about 15 years ago. Jewel had a significant underground Indie following but she was certainly not the big country /pop star that she is today. During the interview Jewel, with only a guitar for a companion, sang, answered questions and recounted her desire to go mainstream.
I was very much attracted to the style of interviewing which was direct, easy, researched, thorough.
I’ve been hooked since.
NPR has the most unique mix of science, pop culture, news, business, arts & life programmes. And it made me a better critical thinker, a stronger journalist, a better writer. That’s a lot, I know, for a 24 hour talk radio station to do, but my claim is unreservedly true.
Fifteen years later I still tune in. I subscribe to their podcasts in iTunes and listen to most of the syndicated shows. I hoard my favourites for those long drives or jogs that deserve them. Terry Gross continues to be my favourite interviewer of all times
Here’s the thing I love best NPR though and why they continue to be on my favourite list.
The team of producers prove day in and day out that that even when a medium is 90 years old, it’s possible to reinvent it. Daily, they take the flat and linear structure of radio and make it modern and new again (their web site is comprehensive, uncluttered and easy to navigate and their I phone application is tailor made for life on the go)
NPR is amazing. Tune in or read their great stories on line. I guarantee you’ll be smarter for it.