Home / My Relationship Listening to NPR In My Car Resumes With A Special Hour

My Relationship Listening to NPR In My Car Resumes With A Special Hour

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This may be a coincidence but I am going to take it as a sign – something to do with the power of National Public Radio.

About one year ago my car stereo was stolen, shortly after I moved to Austin. My locked truck was parked at a library at the time. NPR had run a report that day saying that the frequency of people stealing car stereos had dropped.

As I told people of my car stereo being stolen the majority of them noted the coincidence of the timing, most bringing up the NPR report before I even alluded to it.. I was less amused. I penned and submitted this letter for NPR to broadcast, essentially informing the car stereo robber that a) since it was no longer trendy to steal car stereos  and b) I would miss that and other reports – not to mention the hoped-for reading of my letter – because of this crime.
NPR did not run the letter and the car stereo was never found.

I later penned this piece chronicling the affect of not having a car stereo had in my life, namely a dramatic reduction in my consumption in music, signaling a change in my relationship with music.

Sure I still had occasional moments with NPR, often as I woke in the morning but these were short affairs, nothing like the long drives we used to take together. I talked, in my interview at Blogcritics with Lisa Phillips regarding her book about NPR personalities, about some of my favorites there and the fact I have missed some of them during this year away.

Over the weekend I came into possession (legally, for the record) of a used car which had two things going for it. At the time, the one that excited me the most was the fact the vehicle had air conditioning. As other Austinites including Blogcritics' own Dave Nalle can attest, living in Austin without air conditioning is a bit like being a politician with a fear of public speaking: possible but difficult. It also has a car stereo, albeit with cassette tape technology, but I immediately tuned in NPR.

So, today was the first day I was driving home from work in this car, listening to NPR. It was thrilling, frankly, to hear not one but two separate authors I have interviewed speaking within less than an hour period.

First, roving NPR reporter John Burnett, who I interviewed here at Blogcritics, did a plug for the local NPR station.

I also heard a tease for an interview with Brad Meltzer about his new book, Heroes for My Son. I have interviewed Brad for his last few books and had already planned to submit for publication, in the next 24 hours, my interview with him about this one.

I ended up driving for longer than I had planned just so I could listen to this interview, partially out of the curiosity of hearing the voice of someone I have corresponded with only through email, and also to see if there was anything he would say that I had missed in our interview.

Interview over, I parked the car, turned off the car stereo and thought, well, I may not have the pulse of America as a writer but I sure do seem to have the pulse of NPR.

I then went to the Blogcritics page with the intent of typing up my Brad interview but instead this memoir piece came out of my fingers.

Let me end this by saying, I am sorry I left you so abruptly, NPR. Thank you for taking me back, and this past hour of serendipity was a nice way to celebrate our reunion. I hope we spend many hours in the future together, connecting while on the road.

I'd hug you now but I fear electrocution may occur.


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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.
  • Arch Conservative

    NPR sucks!

  • I can understand, Archie, that the syntax can be a challenge, and the air of pseudo-intellectualism and snobbery a big turnoff.

    After all, who can measure up to good ole Rush or Sean or the great Mark Levin?

  • And BTW, Arch, if you think NPR sucks, try “BBC World Update” with Dan Damon. It will give you the gibbies.

    It’s foreign language besides.

  • Scott Butki

    Thank you for the feedback, Arch.

  • Perhaps Arch will expand on his cryptic remark and treat us to incisive analysis demonstrating his wisdom.

    The ball is in your corner, Arch. Go for it!

  • There are certain trigger words and phrases (pro-life, New York Times, Kennedy, illegal immigration etc) which have much the same effect on Arch as a doctor’s little rubber mallet on a human knee.

  • You’re talking beyond Arch’s comprehension quotient

    Don’t forget: he graduated from the Bible college in Midwest.

  • Nah, Rog, Archie’s from New Hampshire and going by what he’s written on BC, isn’t particularly religious.

    He’s not the deepest of thinkers – which makes him easy to tease 🙂 – but as much as I usually disagree with him I do respect his honesty and passion.

  • I was just teasing him, Dreadful.

  • Frankly Doc I’m shocked he hasn’t reacted to my $25 bill article!

  • Ruvy

    Sorry Scott,

    Had it been me, I would never have tuned into NPR (national palestine radio) again. The pseudo-intellectualism of a bunch of nasty Israelis pretending to be NPR (Voice of Israel – Station A, or Ha’aretz) got me prepared for the shallowness and lack of substance of NPR’s reports out of the Middle East when I was able to figure out how to access them. They have a couple of funny shows (at least I hope they still do), but otherwise NPR is one big Zero (just like Obama is one big Zero) in my book.

    That’s the longer version of the statement, “NPR sucks”.

  • I suppose BBC is off limits too for being fascist.