Wednesday, April 06, 2005

NPR, I Love You

My friend Carrie Ann is so lucky. She volunteered for the KUER fundraiser today and got to meet Doug Fabrizio. Genius! I have a plan to meet Doug Fabrizio too but it is much more involved. I’m going to write a book about a person who wants to meet Doug Fabrizio so badly that she writes a book so she can go on Radio West and talk to Doug. This book I’m writing will actually be pretty good—very post modern and self-referential in a Charlie Kaufman sort of way. I can’t wait. What do you think Doug will ask me?

Or should I just get a babysitter and volunteer to answer phones at the next fundraiser?

I was shocked when I saw how handsome and tan Doug is. I should have guessed with a name like Fabrizio but I had formed a picture in my mind based on his voice. His voice seems neither olive-skinned nor quite so ruggedly handsome. What a treat. I feel so proud of Doug because he is one of the most interesting, well- read, and courteous things in Utah. . . Better than Sundance!
I can’t believe I went for so long not even knowing about NPR. I can still remember the first time I listened to it. It was Diane Rehm’s show on September 11th. My son was 4 years old at the time so I didn’t want to turn on the news for him to see what happened. But I wanted to hear what was going on so I turned on the radio. I bonded with Diane through her coverage of 9/11. It was like she was talking just to me. Her picture shocked me too—she’s much better looking than her voice suggests.

I started listening to Diane all the time every morning. Her show corresponded with times I was in the car dropping off kids and going to work. More than once I was late for the class I teach because I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at the bottom of Maeser Hill listening to one last segment—a woman who interviewed Barbara Streisand (who would have guessed how freely she would speak of Streisand’s weirdness? Jackpot!), Twyla Tharp (I went straight out and bought The Creative Habit to assist me in my plan to meet Doug by writing a book about writing a book about wanting to meet Doug. It’s funny because it’s true.), and Maurice Sendak (which I required my students to listen to and write about . . . here is where my love for NPR borders on obsession).

Coincidentally, around the same time I discovered that Fresh Air came on just as I was picking up my son from school. Suddenly getting to the pick-up lane early to ensure a good spot became a pleasure. I caught the last half of an interview with, as it turned out, Maurice Sendak. He was so dark and depressing I was surprised to find out it was him. Go ahead. Listen to it it online. He'll freak you out because he killed someone when he was little. (Intrigued? So was I.)

Radio West comes on just as I’m fixing lunch and I love it. Love Doug. Love the local topics. I even love the fundraisers. I love the drama and the urgency in Doug’s voice. Sometimes I get tears in my eyes when he invokes Marconi because it’s always apt. Doug never begs for money during the fundraisers. That would be a turn off. He maintains his dignity and instead of [just] making people feel guilty, he inspires us to do our civic duty. It’s ennobling. He often reminds me, “If you’re listening even now during the fundraiser you’re really hooked.” Then I feel embarrassed, but in a good way.

Once when they were working on a Driveway Moments collection, Jenny Brundin said that Doug had been up all night putting it together. I believed her. I wanted to call in and tell Doug that my driveway moment was listening to Jenny Brundin talk about Doug’s tireless effort in editing the driveway moments collection but I felt embarrassed, not in a good way.

I’d like to say that listening to NPR makes me a better person but, honestly, I don’t think it does. I'd like to think it makes me more interesting but “I heard it on NPR” does get old and I just don’t have the same delivery (or background music) as Ira Glass. I am, perhaps, too willing to shell out money on books based on Diane’s recommendation alone. I’ve been late to countless Bishop’s Youth Firesides because the rebroadcast of This American Life is at 6pm on Sunday. Sitting alone in my car in the church parking lot apparently doing nothing very intently looks weird. It’s a problem. And even though I’ve often been jealous of my husband’s ability to tune out the kids’ crying, talking, or whining, if Doug is talking I don’t hear them. I don’t do it on purpose. You see, it’s not a choice—it just happens. When I do miss something he says because of the sheer volume of whatever might be going on in my house or my car I find myself wishing so badly that they had a tivo-type device for radios. I know they do have one, of course, because I heard about it on science Friday and I really wish I had one.

I know what riveting means. Gandalf coming back and being white is riveting. BYU football is not. It’s rare that I’m “riveted.” Most of the time my attention is fragmented, divided, or just wandering. NPR is riveting. It’s probably even a little too riveting for me


  1. I know what you mean. I actually have pretend interviews with Doug--interviews in which we discuss some book that I've written about Mormon women and what it was REALLY like to live with polygamy. Heck, I'd write whatever just to talk to him. I often think that I would spend more time talking about how excited I am to meet Doug than about whatever book I wrote to get me on the show. He'd try to get back to the book, and I'd be busy saying "I just love you so much."

  2. NPR is great. I've heard the subjects of both ska and superheroes talked about. Does it get better than that? No, no it does not.

  3. Hear...hear...I will post the soon to be famous photo of Doug post haste. I think I freaked him out a little with the "Doug Fabrizio Fan Club Badge" comment, but if I had a badge maker, I totally would have worn a badge...

    I totally get you and NPR. It was a binding factor in our friendship. And I feel like Doug, Diane, Terry, Neal, and Ira are friends of mine.

    I think I will set up a trust for NPR in my will...sorry posterity. No dough for you...unless you become hosts on NPR.

  4. I refer to "NPR" a lot - and just assumed everyone knew what I was talking about. Finally one day in R.S. I was regaling the crowd with some "experience" and got kind of blank looks - finally someone said, "What's NPR?" (I had probably just introduced my topic by saying something like "Harry told me about this guy he heard on NPR. . .")

    Speaking of NPR, Harry listened to an interview with the author of "March" - Geraldine Brooks - on NPR - and gave it to me for Easter instead of chocolate - a good choice - and a great book - if you are a Little Women afficionado you will appreciate it - even if you aren't you might - it's hard for me to tell, since I am a Little Women afficionado -it's Mr. March's story about the year he was away at war - a very compelling book - a real "page turner" as some women in my book group say.

  5. Well, if I had known you were such an NPR devotee, I might not have made the comments I did in my post, "What Blogging Means to Me in So Many Words". I hope they were taken in the right light. Boy, do I feel sheepish.

  6. So I just called in my pledge to NPR to a) get the New York Dolls cd and b) see if Carrie would answer the phone and when Doug read my name over the air he called me "Kay Fulkne." The pain. It's not like I live for it or anything Doug. Perhaps he would not give me his undivided attention as my fanstasy dictates. Nevertheless: my loyalty (though undeserved) remains steadfast.

  7. I LOVE NPR! I have so much to say about how much I love it...I'll have to save it for a big, juicy post of my own. My favorite reporter? Christian Fodenvensil (not sure how to spell his last name)... every single time he ends his news reports with his name (a lovely British accent) I have an O.C.D. reaction where I MUST repeat his name with the exact same intonation. He might be a local reporter in Oregon - I'm not sure. All I know is that I love him and I love NPR, and Carrie got to volunteer? Lucky.

  8. Kacy- I get so riled up when I read your entries because I'm always like WOW! I love NPR, too! or Whoa, I wear my coat in the house and run out to the mailbox like a spazz, too. Or wow, we have the same taste in music. But, really, how could I not comment when you bring up Doug Fabrizio and convoluted schemes to meet Doug Fabrizio? Honestly, my entire social life at this point consists of me having imaginary conversations with Doug. Why did I never think to volunteer for the fund drive? Because I am a geek, that is why. Sigh.

  9. Next time you are at the house, remind me and I'll show you how to tape whatever you want from the radio.

  10. Maybe my comment is is old, but I just read this.
    I love NPR too! The National as well as the local Utah programs. I have discovered a wonderful thing. iTunes + Podcasts + iPod. iTunes now handles podcasting which if you didn't know it is like blogging with sound. There are many NPR broadcasts that are podcasted so you can use iTunes to download them automatically and listen to the show when you have time. I have them go on my iPod and listen while I work in the garden. You can use other softare than iTunes and other media players. Going to the NPR website is another way.

  11. I read this post and cracked right up...I work at KUER and you are always welcome to volunteer during our fund drives! Doug would love it...

  12. Anonymous4:53 PM

    KUER = Old And Busted
    KCPW = New Hotness

    Why don't you listen to a station that's actually relevant and not self indulgent?

  13. Anonymous11:32 AM

    beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

    i actually listen to both KUER and KCPW--and they are both relevant.

    and if i were being honest KCPW comes off quite self-indulgent and even somewhat commercial at times.

  14. Anonymous4:26 PM

    KCPW self indulgent?

    How do you get that?

    KUER is the station that spends hours talking about things that only matter to Doug and his faithful audience of Mormon housewives.

  15. Anonymous, you wish you had a devoted following of Mormon housewives, don't you.


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