Thursday, April 10, 2014

Public radio

There are two public radio stations I will occasionally listen to in my car. One is the straight up Public Radio public radio station with all the talking. The other is the one that plays alternative (but not too alternative, or alternative to something but no one is sure what) music. Both of them can really irritate me. The talking one gets to me most often for bringing in an unreasonable point of view to balance any reasonable point of view and then tacitly or explicitly suggesting that the truth or virtue lies somewhere roughly balanced between the two. The music station gets to me most often by engaging overmuch in manipulative teasing to keep a listener listening. Despite these irritations I felt I should call in and pledge. Or, wait, maybe it was because of these irritations. I'm not sure.

"Public Radio pledge line. How can I assist you today?"

"I am about to make a really huge and impressive pledge. I am going to donate quite a lot of money to Public Radio."

"Yes? I just need your..."

"But before we get to that I wanted to discuss a few other things."

"I really just take pledges sir, if..."

"Oh. Yes. I am going to pledge greatly. It's going to be huge. You will love this pledge!"

"Excellent, sir. If we could start with your..."

"But before we get to the pledge I'd like to discuss why I never hear you play Ambulance Blues."

"Excuse me?"

"Ambulance Blues. It is a song by Neil Young. I can listen to it all the time. It's just so fierce. I want to hear it on the radio every once in awhile. Is that unreasonable?"

"Um, no sir, but I'm not a programmer. You would have to call the station for that. I just take pledges. Would you like me to give you the station number, or do you have a pledge?"

"I have a pledge."

"That's great. If I could just start with..."

"But before I pledge I need to put someone on the phone who disagrees with me."

"What? Sir I..."

"Hello. Hello! I am trying to stop my colleague here from throwing away a lot of money on your radio station."

"I think you would need to talk to him. I just take pledges."

"Have you ever listened to the music of the oceans?"

"I don't..."

"Whale songs. All radio stations all the time should play whale songs! No one should have to pay for the music of the oceans! The music of the oceans is our right as Americans and is as fundamental as a sound military, good roads and representative government. I pay taxes and I want to be able to hear whale songs on the radio, for free, all the time, no matter where on the dial I am!"

"You would have to contact your representatives in the legislature Ma'am. I'm afraid that..."

"Hi. I'm back. I still want to make a pledge! Even more than ever! If I want to hear whale songs I will go to the ocean! I find whale song intriguingly moody, but mostly boring. Let's do this pledge thing.

"Great. If you will start by..."

"But first I'd like to play Neil Young's immortal Ambulance Blues."

"I am going to have to hang up sir."

"It's only nine minutes and then I'll be right back."

"I am hanging up sir."

"(Music plays for nine minutes.)"

Dial tone.

So you see, I try to pledge, but it never works out.

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