November 28, 2008

Those NPR Voices

Earlier while I was on the road, I had the radio tuned into NPR and started wondering, do people who broadcast on National Public Radio go to a special school to attain those mellifluous tones with which they all speak? Lately I'm hooked on NPR and I think it might just be those voices. They have a warm, soothing quality that energizes the mind yet keeps one from getting all excitable enough to do something reckless like change lanes without using your turn signals. I can't imagine anyone who is tuned into NPR would ever have an incident of road rage.

When I listen to NPR, I find myself wishing the broadcasters were my best friends. You know, the types of pals I'd invite over for dinner for some interesting new ethnic recipe, some wine (I don't even drink wine), maybe a groovy light jazz in the background. I can see myself laughing (mellifluously) as they review the latest book they are reading or leaning forward earnestly to hear their interpretation of a recent event.

I snapped out of this reverie when a smoke-belching white 1970-something Vega with big wheels and a lift kit whips in front of me and slams on its brakes. It made me so mad I had to turn off NPR just so I could honk at him. I'm not sure what was worse... his driving or WHAT he was driving.

[photo credit: leyslie]


  1. LOL!!!!!! It's so true. I don't listen to NPR a lot, but I was last night when I was a passenger. I think I'd get too distracted. And then I had to go check out the book they were talking about. Book of Ages, by Eric Hanson.

  2. I am fascinated by the way Ira Glass speaks. Reallyfastandflat. Withlongbreaksbetweensentencessothedepthofhisdeepnessreallysinksin. IthinkinpersonIwouldprobablyhithim.

  3. Envie, ooh, a new book? I will have to go check it out.

    Chris, I will immediately take Ira Glass off the invite list. We don't need a dinner party destroyed by two guys rolling through my gravy boat hitting each other!

  4. Wendy. . . Thank you for the comments on the half-life of linoleum. . . and the npr answer is, sort-of, 'yes.' Those tones are very well rehearsed and their recording techniques are quite unique. A former co-worker of mine did some features for NPR 10 years ago or so and he said they had to work for hours to make his voice seem all 'airbrushed and endearing' which, I can testify, was not it's normal state.

    I love that you had to turn off the radio to honk the horn. We wouldn't want npr to know, that sometimes, you know, we might honk out here in listener-supported land.

  5. No, you'd better keep Ira. How else will you ever know how he sounds before he is made "airbrushed and endearing"?

    I like that story Koe - I can picture lots of dials with WRY GRIN and SELF EFFACING on them, being turned up to 11.

  6. Koe, I certainly wouldn't want them to know that I can be unruly and unpredictable. I don't always set a good example. :)

    Chris, maybe we'll just keep Ira in the kitchen. He can do an up-to-the-minute live report on the kitchen genocide.

  7. Wendy, I will probably blog about it on when I finish it! It's pretty good so far. I'm only up to age 7. Didn't know Diane Arbus had photographed Anderson Cooper when he was an infant! He was cute too. Still is;).

  8. Your turning off the radio just so you could get onto the other driver cracked me up! It seemed like you didn't want them (NPR) to know by overhearing you. Funny stuff, funny stuff indeed.

  9. NPR has sometimes made me think that Americans (we) are pretty smart folks all-in-all. Then when I realize how much more popular Jerry Springer is than NPR's All Things Considered, I re-evaluate.



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