I've all but stopped listening to music on the radio. Here's part one of the problem:
DJ: "Hi Stacey, you've just won a family pack to Raging Waters water park!"
DJ: "Oh come on, sound a little more excited!"
DJ: "So, tell me, who gives you the hookup for all these kick ass tickets?"
Caller: "You do, 94.7 KWHZ. You give me the hookup."
DJ: "Yeah, we hook you up, don't we?"
Then there's part two: brilliant DJ commentary.
"So have you heard about all those soldiers dying over there in Iraq? It's crazy. I wonder why the president isn't doing anything about it. I mean, personally, my opinion is--and this is just me--he should be concerned about what's happening to our country. What do you guys think? I mean, if you don't agree, that's cool. Give us a call."
And of course, part three, the standard radio methodology of identifying popular songs and playing them ad nauseam until hearing even the good ones makes you want to hurl your radio out a window. But I digress.
So I started listening to NPR. It hasn't been a life changing experience, but I feel like I get a lot more from the time I'm in the car (more than 2 hours a day, sometimes as many as 4). I listen to Morning Edition on the way to work; The Diane Rehm Show, Talk of the Nation, Fresh Air, and The World while I'm running errands; and All Things Considered and Marketplace on the way home. Granted, it has its flaws: some of the hosts and guests sound awfully haughty. Sometimes on shows that take calls, the callers are just calling to show off their knowledge on the subject, and sometimes the topics aren't very interesting. Plus, I still have no love for jazz, so that eliminates nighttime listening. But by and large, listening to NPR is very informative. All Things Considered, especially, has a good mix of current events and esoteric interesting information. And, unlike the music industry, NPR archives all its shows and makes them available online for free listening.
Still, every now and then I just can't take any more information. That's when I start the CD player and jam.