I am addicted to public radio. There, I said it. The straightforward news, the features, the lack of commercials and the variety of topics around the clock all work for me. I listen as much as practical. My local National Public Radio affiliate is KNOW 91.1, the flagship of Minnesota Public Radio. I became a member in 2000.
In 1999, I started listening to a program called "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." Despite the funny name, it is a hilarious quiz show based on current events. Yes, there is a double-level oxymoron in that description. Nonetheless, "Wait, Wait" became my favorite program and my most anticipated hour of the week.
That hour was 10:00 AM Sunday. That hour became a routine. That's when I would do stuff around the house, read the paper, etc, all within earshot of the radio.
Around 2003, MPR moved "Wait, Wait" to Sunday at 2:00 PM. It was like a stab in the back. Like being told FU by your favorite teacher or best friend. 2PM??? Might as well have killed it. 2PM is the shank of the day, with plenty of other things to do, places to go, people to see. It was almost impossible to catch the program.
Don't think I didn't go to great lengths to defeat the almost impossible. For the first couple of years, I used a cassette deck with a timer. Later, I found a program called Cybercorder that records audio inputs into digital WAV files on the computer. I think of it as a VCR for radio. Until NPR-issued podcasts appeared, it was thanks to Cybercorder that I was able to time-shift "Wait, Wait" and all of my other favorite NPR programs. Loading them onto my iPod made them portable. Life became good again.
Except for my umbrage for MPR. They made many a program change over the years, but they left "Wait, Wait" buried at 2PM Sunday. When my $15 a month membership expired in 2004, I didn't renew. I vowed I would not contribute another dime to MPR until they gave "Wait, Wait" a time slot worthy of the fastest hour on radio.
Of course, I never told MPR how I felt, so maybe they didn't realize how affronted I was. Still, I considered them to be royal bastards.
Fast forward to yesterday, Febuary 7, 2009. MPR shuffled their schedule and moved "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" to Saturday at noon. Saturday at noon. You can't get much better than that. Saturday instead of Sunday, noon instead of 2:00. Right after "Car Talk." I consider the insult to be lifted.
So, it looks like I will be reversing my vow and begin sending MPR $15 a month again. They have a membership drive this month. That's as good a time as any to join. I might even get a coffee mug out of the deal. If only I drank coffee.