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When It’s Good, It’s Good, When It’s BAD, It’s Better…

An Open Letter to NPR, Re: Diane Rehm.

Dear National Public Radio,

I’m an avid fan of your stations and programming, to the point where I even donated my 1998 Triumph motorcycle to my local NPR station in lieu of an actual monetary donation.  I love NPR a lot, however I avoid a two hour block of programming between 10 and noon, also known as “The Diane Rehm Show.”

This week, The Diane Rehm Show, or DRS, turns 30.  Ms. Rehm is a thoughtful, intelligent and outstanding host, the show has complex issues and interesting guests with equally interesting interviews.  So why wouldn’t I dig her show?
rehm_diane
It’s her fucking voice.

Ms. Rehm was diagnosed with some sort of degenerative throat disease some years back which makes her voice sound warbled, scratchy and unpleasant.  Imagine a life-long smoker with a tracheotomy trying to give a speech with a boot firmly placed over where their larynx used to be.

I know it’s not her fault, and god bless her for having the balls to get on the air every day (she’s been out for the last like two weeks or something, as of press time, due to her condition) but come on man, this is radio, you TALK for a living.  It’s not like you’re a disc jockey and you only have to speak into the mic for thirty seconds between 90 minute blocks of classic rock or pop music.  You speak almost non-stop for TWO HOURS!  Jesus, am I monster for not tuning in?

Ms. Rehm is very self conscience of her voice, which gives her the resolve and bravery of Molly Pitcher for getting on air every day and sallying forth with her program.  But really, c’mon, it’s ok, give it (your voice) a rest.

It’s like trying to be patient while a man with hooks for hands tries to write out a check at the bank.  Every day.  For two hours.

I’m not ashamed to say that I can’t stand listening to her voice.  A comment thread on NPR.org in regards to Ms. Rehm’s 30th Anniversary cited many listeners who “don’t mind” the voice and think it “adds to her charm.”

Dude, that’s like saying a person’s colostomy bag adds to their personality.

I’m sorry if I’m coming off like a huge asshole here, but I’m calling it as I see it.  What if Ms. Rehm was horrendously disfigured and was an anchor on NBC’s “Today Show?”  Would you still tune in?  Maybe you would, because you like a freak show, and maybe that’s why these listeners enjoy tuning in to the DRS?

Ms. Rehm is fully capable of doing her show, as she has been for 30 years now (a show highlight for Ms. Rehm was an interview with Julia Childs back in 1985, according to the article I read.  Can you imagine that interview now, with Ms. Child’s high pitched muppet-like falsetto and Ms. Rehm’s unsettling cadence?  I’d almost tune in for the full two hours…) but maybe it’s time to move into something like writing for Ms. Rehm.  Or at least NPR could cut her show down from two hours to one?  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
julia-child-meryl-streep
I mean, would you make a one legged man walk for two miles, when only one would be sufficient?

September 14, 2009 Posted by | Why Am I Listening to This? | , , , | 1 Comment