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Day to Day Goes Dark
February 17, 2009 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Madeleine Brand and Alex Cohen, co-hosts of NPR’s Day to Day discuss being laid off (VIDEO) as part of $23 million in budget cuts at NPR
posted by The Gooch (75 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
mmm good times. yeah.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:51 PM on February 17, 2009


Things definitely suck right now and I'm sorry for *anyone* who loses his or her job, but:

Day to Day and News & Notes, two California-based shows that sought to expand the breadth of news coverage and voices heard on NPR...

All Day to Day sought to do was to pat its own -- and NPR's, and Slate's -- back. It was the most uselessly self-referential, self-aggrandizing news show that NPR's ever produced. (And don't get me wrong -- I'm an NPR fan.)

At least from here, it won't be missed.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:57 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


One of the hosts (didn't catch which one) makes an interesting claim -- by which I mean, a claim that's not obviously true -- near the end of the video clip. The money spent on the Day to Day program was a smart decision, and shouldn't have been cut, she claims, because when the economy gets back on track, NPR won't be able to get the lost broadcast time back and the stations won't be amenable to giving NPR time in the future (or something like that). Clearly the first point is correct -- but what is the cost of lost broadcast time for NPR? How do they decide what the cost of canceling a show like Day to Day is?
posted by voltairemodern at 1:57 PM on February 17, 2009


I have to admit, I'm rather torn about News & Notes being canceled. On one hand, I get a lot of exposure to issues and voices I'd otherwise miss. On the other hand, every time I hear Farai Chideya lead off an interview with the question, "Whaddup with that?!" I want to smack my radio.
posted by slogger at 2:00 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


But seriously, NPR interviews, whaddup with that?!
posted by voltairemodern at 2:01 PM on February 17, 2009


but what is the cost of lost broadcast time for NPR

Local affiliates will have to fill the broadcast hole somehow. By the time NPR is ready to increase programming again, affiliates will have other contracts in place (say with someone local, or PRI), and NPR will have to win them back hour by hour.
posted by dhartung at 2:03 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate to say it but I tend to agree that Day to Day was pretty much crap. If the glossy news show needs to be cut in order to keep the reporting at ATC and Morning Edition high quality then I think it's probably a smart decision. Yes it will probably mean that my local NPR station will use even more BBC World Service as time filler but I'm not sure that is a negative tradeoff.
posted by vuron at 2:05 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


This piece actually really rings true to me. I've been laid off in the news business, and I have other friends who have been laid off, and the gig is up for a whole bunch of us. There are folks who are in their fifties, not yet ready to retire but too old to start from scratch as an editorial assistant. There are the rising stars, who suddenly find their jobs hanging in the balance because of union rules. There are reporters so valuable the company has invested money in giving them their own bureau, even, who have been cut now that the death of the news industry has finally reached their publications.

I have friends around the world who are getting their jobs cut right now, and it's not because they weren't doing well. It's not because they weren't fantastic reporters, or because they were working for a dying medium.

The suits in Chicago, or Washington, or New York -- the ones who make the big decisions about how to make the newspaper profitable -- they aren't getting it. They're stuck in the pre-web world, and they don't know how to move on, how to make their content available and present it as valuable and maybe even worth paying for. They don't know how to invest in their web presence, and some news organizations have such poor web presences that they're laughable. They don't know how to adjust, and what they need are a few young journalists and journalism-minded businesskids who can say, "Look. I have a new strategy for you. You're going to have to trust me on this one."

Way back when, before the job cuts really started to roll in 2005, I was working at a newspaper in Connecticut. I had a column that was doing really well, and though I was still a struggling young reporter, I knew I had a future in that industry. When some of the higher-ups visited and said they'd be making changes to the web site, I told them I'd be interested in helping out. I said I had a lot of ideas. But who was I? A barely-twenty-something who couldn't possibly know how to run a newspaper.

But a website? By then I most definitely knew how to run one of those. No one heard any of my ideas, and as time has passed it has gotten so that I literally cannot stand to look at my old newspaper's website.

What kills me is that this kind of business strategy is floating down to the reporters, who are needed now as much as they ever were.
posted by brina at 2:09 PM on February 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


In other news, I was just listening to Ari Shapiro's interview with the author of "Snark" and simultaneously thinking: "MetaFilter needs to hear this." and "I'm so glad he didn't get the ax."
posted by greekphilosophy at 2:09 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I kind of liked the weekend show that got axed, DtD, meh.

I live in MN and MPR (with the exception of it's main early/mid morning show) usually has some pretty good stuff... Just hate it when they endless repeat stuff on the weekends. I swear Sat and Sun will eventually turn into PHC/CarTalk/Wait... Wait.../and some random repeat of the previous week morning call in show, those and nothing else.
posted by edgeways at 2:11 PM on February 17, 2009


Day to Day to be renamed Paycheck-to-Paycheck.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:17 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Farai Chideya fucking rules and I almost cried when they yanked her.
posted by The Straightener at 2:22 PM on February 17, 2009


Please tell me they canceled that shitty "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and/or "Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?". Those people need to be set on fire like 20 times in a row.
posted by ND¢ at 2:28 PM on February 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


ND¢: "Please tell me they canceled that shitty "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me""

If they do that, where else is Paula Poundstone going to put in her career-rehabilitation time?

I say let the axe fall on Car Talk. It's like being locked in a closet with 10 Ed McMahons.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:33 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


INSERT EXTREMELY LOUD AND EXTREMELY FAKE LAUGH HERE
posted by ND¢ at 2:34 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey now, don't fuck with "Wait Wait"...! That, Car Talk, and This American Life are the reasons I remember to get up on Saturdays!

Day to Day, eh...I can do without that. I do feel very badly about the job losses though.
posted by rollbiz at 2:36 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK, now I'm really glad that neither Joe Beese nor ND¢ are swinging the axes at NPR.
posted by rollbiz at 2:38 PM on February 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


I was very sad to hear that plant reporter Ketzel Levine got the ax. There is definitely less plant kingdom coverage on the network without her.
posted by Toekneesan at 2:40 PM on February 17, 2009


What ever happened to the kroc bequest? Shouldnt this act as a buffer?
posted by lalochezia at 2:41 PM on February 17, 2009


OK, now I'm really glad that neither Joe Beese nor ND¢ are swinging the axes at NPR.

Jeez, no kidding! Garrison Keiller, however, can be stuffed into the trunk of a Volkswagon Beetle for all I care.
posted by slogger at 2:45 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess now, even more than before, the NPR offering on Sirius (NPR doesn't allow Sirius to carry "All Things Considered" or "Morning Edition") will be an endless loop of "Radio Times" and "The Diane Rehm" show.
posted by The Gooch at 2:50 PM on February 17, 2009


Ketzel Levine? Farai Chideya? Maria Hinojosa? Kai Ryssdal?

NPR announcers or "extras" from the Star Wars Cantina?

And like the Cantina scene, while these announcers are superficially different, once they start breathing into the microphone over the "ambient" spot audio they picked up with their hand-held recorders, all but indistinguishable in their over-familiar attempts to stand out.
posted by orthogonality at 3:04 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Please tell me they canceled that shitty "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and/or "Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?". Those people need to be set on fire like 20 times in a row.

Ohthankgod I am not alone. I spent so much time thinking there was just something about these shows that I was not understanding.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 3:08 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whoa now. Don't fuck with Kai Ryssdal.
posted by ND¢ at 3:10 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


I hope X get's unemployed. I hate X.

To somebody each and every one of you is X.

You know you don't HAVE to listen, or watch, or read shit you don't like. When people lose their jobs it sucks.
posted by tkchrist at 3:21 PM on February 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


I love X and often listen to X.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:26 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I say let the axe fall on Car Talk.

No way, José. I ♥ Click & Clack.
posted by ericb at 3:28 PM on February 17, 2009


To that somebody to whom I am Garrison Keillor, I apologize profusely. I will never warble horrible folk tunes again.
posted by benzenedream at 3:31 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


^ eponysterical?
posted by waraw at 3:35 PM on February 17, 2009


Everybody loves me.
posted by ND¢ at 3:38 PM on February 17, 2009


I can't love anyone who doesn't love Peeeeeeeeet'r Saaaaaag'l!
posted by kittyprecious at 3:43 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pretty boys are pretty.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:43 PM on February 17, 2009


The only redeeming thing about "Whad'Ya Know?" is when Michael Feldman complains about not being as popular as Garrison. His tears nourish me.
posted by mrnutty at 3:47 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


CarTalk is good if you are alone in the car and need company, but if there's somebody there with you, the illusion that Tom and Ray are human beings is harder to maintain.
posted by DU at 4:08 PM on February 17, 2009


Please tell me they canceled that shitty "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me"

That's crazy talk! Last episode they played a mashup of Tom Daschle's apology for not paying taxes and Christian Bale's freakout. Comedy gold!

Dashle: I deeply apologize to President Obama, to my colleagues and to the American people.

Bale: No! Don't just be sorry! Think for one f*cking second!

Dashle: When I realized the mistake, I notified officials, and I paid the tax in full.

Bale: Ohhhhhh! Good for you!
posted by diogenes at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2009


I love wait wait, and actually grab the podcast in case I miss it.

I actually enjoy prairie home companion... once. I think it's on at least 5 times in LA every weekend, and since I prefer radio to TV, that gets old real quick.

I've also been sad to hear that Weekend America is going away. With that gone, I can only assume they'll just play PHC again. Blerg.

Day to Day... meh. They've talked to Xeni Jardin as an expert about a million times too often for my taste. But I'm not sure what it'll be replaced with.
posted by flaterik at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2009


the illusion that Tom and Ray are human beings is harder to maintain

You wouldn't have this problem if, like I did, you once worked in the office next-door to Tom's North End hideaway. Anything that produces that much cigar smoke is undoubtedly human.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:54 PM on February 17, 2009


I hope they will find work soon, it's awful to lose a job.

In the long term, I hope NPR becomes more local again. Regardless of whether the networked shows are to our liking or not, the heart of public radio used to be that it was LOCAL radio and not a giant conglomerate of slick, uppity programming that sounds the same in every city.
posted by quarterframer at 4:55 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Heh. Well, the bitter solace here is that I guess that's why they never got back to me about those resumés I sent in…

And while I'm actually fairly sad to see Farai (and to see how everyone really spells their names) go, I do hope that this means a drastic decrease in the amount of Sandra Tsing Loh, the absolute worst part of forgetting to bring new music on the commute. Fifteen seconds of glib science, thirteen seconds of which are puns? I hope your head falls off.
posted by klangklangston at 5:03 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Prairie Home Companion is definitely weak at this point in time. I know some listeners like listening to the same stale segments week after week (Guy Noir and the fake advertisements from Powder Milk Biscuits and Ketchup Advisory board are particularly moribund) but it's basically the same problem that ruins every halfway decent sketch comedy show, get something that works and drive it into the ground.

Combined with the fact that it's audience demographic must be about comparable with the audience demographic for an episode of the Golden Girls and you don't necessarily have a recipe for dynamic interesting show. However PHC fills countless weekend hours on most Public Radio stations so I figure we'll have him around as long he can continue to warble out duets with the fresh faced folk singers.

I'm not saying that wait wait and what do you know are decent replacements (although they do have some laughs at times) but unless you want to listen to re-runs of radiolab or this american life all weekend every weekend I'm not sure that there is a ton of quality waiting in the wings.
posted by vuron at 5:04 PM on February 17, 2009


"Regardless of whether the networked shows are to our liking or not, the heart of public radio used to be that it was LOCAL radio and not a giant conglomerate of slick, uppity programming that sounds the same in every city."

But dude, this WAS local! Well, to me. I didn't realize that the rest of the country got these guys too, since my affiliate back in Michigan didn't carry them (at least at times I was listening).
posted by klangklangston at 5:04 PM on February 17, 2009


Heavens they're tasty. And expeditious.

Also, Raw Bits Cereal. Oat hulls and wheat chaff. Not sold in stores. Call and get yours today. That's R-A-W B-I-T-S. Raw *bew*..... Bits*bew*.
posted by DU at 5:29 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of local though, and axes...Boston area NPR folks, can we please rally to bring an end to the Bob Oakes era? I promise, and then break said promise due to my NPR addiction, to never listen again after he tries to bring me what he would term, "the neeeeiiiiiuuuuuws".

PROTIP: It's just "news", you jackass. News should take less than a half-second to say, and should sound like an equal mix of vowels and consonants.

I don't want to see anyone unemployed, but perhaps they can give him three hots and a cot at Gratuitous Vowel Penitentiary until he learns his lesson...?
posted by rollbiz at 5:58 PM on February 17, 2009


I would gladly bear Bob Oakes' children in my current body (male) if it would keep Dolores Handy from ever working in broadcasting again. She makes X sound like Y, where X is somebody really really bad at broadcasting and Y is somebody really really good.
posted by DU at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Combined with the fact that it's audience demographic must be about comparable with the audience demographic for an episode of the Golden Girls

Gay men?

Seriously, folks, this is my summary for this thread:

1) We all have at least one show on NPR that we really, really hate.

2) There is absolutely no agreement on what that one show is.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:57 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


PHC. "moribund" yes. Apply also "stale", "insipid", "bland" and "complacent". Same for the dreadful Waddya Know.

At least they get me off the driveway at weekends.
posted by marvin at 7:06 PM on February 17, 2009


1) We all have at least one show on NPR that we really, really hate.

2) There is absolutely no agreement on what that one show is.


We can all agree it isn't Science Fridays.

Shame about the same time slot monday thru thursday, and during election season (I don't care who's ahead in the polls! Find a nerd to talk passionately about slime molds or the Higgs bosun for a half hour, I command it!)
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:09 PM on February 17, 2009


PHC. "moribund" yes. Apply also "stale", "insipid", "bland" and "complacent".

It just hasn't been the same since they layed off Lindsey Lohan and the singing cowboys.
posted by ormondsacker at 7:51 PM on February 17, 2009


1) We all have at least one show on NPR that we really, really hate.

2) There is absolutely no agreement on what that one show is Prairie Home Companion.

*shudder*
posted by Space Kitty at 7:56 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I actually enjoy PHC and Wait, Wait... because I rarely ever hear them so they're a treat. PHC in particular, and I think I enjoy it because it's so moribund, stale, insipid, and complacent. It's very relaxing that way.
posted by palidor at 8:00 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, that scene in the second season of The Wire when Bodie learns that there are different radio stations outside of Baltimore and ends up listening to PHC tickled me immensely. Since this is Metafilter/the Internet I assume I can bring up The Wire at any moment without it seeming odd.
posted by palidor at 8:04 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Since this is Metafilter/the Internet I assume I can bring up The Wire at any moment without it seeming odd.

... aaaand, you would be right.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:36 PM on February 17, 2009


I would hang myself if they ever got rid of Science Friday®
posted by autobahn at 8:59 PM on February 17, 2009


I like every show mentioned so far, so I guess I'm weird (but hey, I like Lynyrd Skynyrd AND Neil Young, Ozzy and Ronnie James Dio, Megadeth and Pantera...). But what I hate is that fucking Fresh Air show...one long shill for some cable show or movie I'll never watch.
posted by 445supermag at 9:32 PM on February 17, 2009


I hate wait wait
posted by taliaferro at 9:49 PM on February 17, 2009


445supermag: Here is the Fresh Air interview that was tailor-made for you.
posted by benzenedream at 9:52 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


You people keep talking about shows that are not NPR shows.

Whad'Ya Know? PRI.
This American Life? PRI.
A Prairie Home Companion? American Public Media.

I will say that I grew up listening to Garrison Keillor and I've even seen him live. My family was definitely folk-happy and so the music is still fantastic stuff, but the comedy bits are wearing pretty thin. Lake Wobegon can still surprise, but even though he's supposedly doing much of it by improv, it's pretty rote by now. The thing is he did realize a while back that he was treading water and quit (partly inspired by a new marriage as I recall) and during his sojourn in New York, where he wrote Talk of the Town pieces for the New Yorker, he found himself doing American Radio Company of the Air, which was almost the same thing, and then just went back to the original format eventually. So in a sense you have to give him credit for returning to what he's ultimately best at. It's radio comfort food, just like Powdermilk Biscuits.

And hey, I randomly heard Nellie McKay on his show recently (a rebroadcast), so there.

As for Whad'Ya Know, I hear ya. It was fresh when you hadn't heard anything like it before, but they could stand to mix up the format a bit once in a while. I think it's Wisconsin humor, though, and that may not travel well.
posted by dhartung at 10:05 PM on February 17, 2009


I like Alex Cohen, this is too bad!
posted by PeterParker at 11:55 PM on February 17, 2009


Both of these shows were terrible. Good riddance.
posted by bardic at 12:45 AM on February 18, 2009


I recently got a "Wait Wait" hat from producer Doug Berman (long story), and the back of it has the slogan "NPR Without the Dignity".

Just thought I'd share that.
posted by rollbiz at 5:01 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Since we're just spewing about our favorite public radio shows, I would like to add Splendid Table with Lynn Rossetta Casper should be considered a national treasure.
posted by slogger at 7:29 AM on February 18, 2009


PHC is my lawn.
posted by Reverend John at 7:39 AM on February 18, 2009


I enjoyed Day to Day and thought Farai Chideya's contributions to NPR's coverage of the presidential debates to be invaluable. I'd be interested to know if the haters up-thread are of another generation or are concentrated geographically or all share a taste for rhubarb, etc. Because, otherwise, I've not learned very much about what people didn't like about these shows.

In other words, it's more interesting to hear "your favorite radio program sucks" when you can also take in who that opinion is coming from and evaluate accordingly.
posted by noway at 7:49 AM on February 18, 2009


As for me, I think that there are lots of things to like about: NPR, aging hippies, baby boomers, academics, writers, Yankees, and college educated upper middle class white people. Some of my best friends etc. However, "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and "Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?" are like a pure distillation of everything that is bad about those things/groups of people and are examples of why "real America" hates them. They annoy me the way that someone in your general peer group acting douchey annoys you more than someone outside your peer group acting douchey does. Because I like "NPR people" and they make "NPR people" look like tools.

Also I despise zaniness in general.
posted by ND¢ at 9:13 AM on February 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


"445supermag: Here is the Fresh Air interview that was tailor-made for you."

Terribly OT, but I was raised on heavy metal, and Gene Simmons is sort of like Ted Nugent. He was my hero when I was a kid, but growing up took off most of the luster. Now Simmons looks more like a narcissistic businessman to me, which is not so endearing. I still like Ozzy, though.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:14 AM on February 18, 2009


Back in the day when I used to do tons of meth and spend 12 hours running naked through the cow pastures that bordered our town's local prairie, I would come home after like a 3-day binge and take a shower and then stand in my kitchen, knowing I needed to make something to eat and get ready for my History of Christianity class the next morning. But I'd feel so disconnected from the world, and brittle, like I had no idea how to do normal things other people did and would spend the rest of my life with a taste in my mouth like motorcycle handlebars in the rain. I'd decide that I had to do something, and would turn on the radio to try to drown out the fear while I boiled water to make instant cheese grits. PHC would be on and as I stood in the brightly-lit kitchen, looking out at the twiglight parking lot and tree-lined residential street, I would feel like just maybe I could get it together; that there was some comfort and kindness and something with soft edges out there.

I'm just kidding, of course. I always relied on This American Life to get me through my come-downs.
posted by staggering termagant at 9:30 AM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow, hate for Terry Gross and Garrison Keillor? The MeFi world really is a rough place.
posted by iconjack at 10:06 AM on February 18, 2009


I like Wait Wait. I listen to it on Monday mornings, before The Bugle. I'd go see Wait Wait in Berkeley tomorrow or Friday, but I've just been a homebody after work lately.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:48 AM on February 18, 2009


Wow, hate for Terry Gross and Garrison Keillor? The MeFi world really is a rough place.

Only Mr. Rogers is sacred here.
posted by flaterik at 12:34 PM on February 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and "Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?" are like a pure distillation of everything that is bad about those things/groups of people and are examples of why "real America" hates them.

What the hell are you talking about? Please elaborate on what you find bad about academics, writers, and college-educated white people.
posted by diogenes at 12:46 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and "Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?".
posted by ND¢ at 12:55 PM on February 18, 2009


You might have to elaborate on "elaborate" for Mr. ¢
posted by flaterik at 1:09 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, all of you people who complain about any NPR talk show need to spend some time in the radio wasteland of Austin.

I refuse to give the local station money because all they play is locally produced music programming that shares the same playlists and DJs as the local adult contemporary music station. (Ok they also do ATC, CarTalk and some other stuff, but that's only about 10%)

KUT makes we want to rip off my own ears and vomit in them.
I'd rather listen to the first 15 minutes of the Diane Rehms Show played over and over and over again all day long.

That being said, if I lived in a town with good public talk radio, I'd still be bitching.
posted by Seamus at 2:14 PM on February 18, 2009


Usually, the first 15 minutes of a Diane Rehm show are the good ones. It's the second hour, where she gasps out, "So… you've… written… a… book… about… Colonial… quilting…" that kills me.
posted by klangklangston at 4:32 PM on February 18, 2009


You might have to elaborate on "elaborate" for Mr. ¢

Heh, seems so :)
posted by diogenes at 5:16 PM on February 18, 2009


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