Public Radio Existentialism or La Nausee

La Nausée




Public radio is facing an existential crisis. Some of the biggest

radio stars of a generation are exiting the scene while public

radio executives attempt to stem the loss of younger listeners

on traditional radio.   –Wall St. Journal, June 16, 2016


The Wall Street Journal says that public radio is going through an existential crisis, and not one which can be resolved by an All Sartre, All the Time format, but one stemming from the fact that all radio, public and otherwise, today, is only for geezers and roofers. Public radio, granted, is unique to the extent that you can be old as sin or dead and still be an evergreen on KUND, Great Forks, even if Lake Woebegone, due to drained water tables, is now Lake Wakebegone.  You can see how young public radio talent, were there any not podcasting, facebooking, blogging or snapchatting, might understandably resent the dead or dying broadcaster laid out in their time slot; they might and even feel that way about someone surprisingly peppy like myself, for whom public radio, after all, was an employer of first and last resort. They should be happy for me.

The problem is exacerbated as we, the Public Radio Legacy Undead, are driven in our induced but walking comas in search of sustenance in the bloodless un-nourishing virtual world of digital media, it’s either that or be driven into estate or tent sale announcing, or extolling blue light specials at K-Mart, if either or both still exist. Maybe you can snag a walk-in bathtub commercial, a miracle ear, or a scooter voiceover, and maybe you can’t. Longevity being what it’s gotten to, it’s pretty competitive.

I made the next to last paragraph of La Nausée, way after Garrison’s self-delivered eulogy, then after the accounts of a few public programmers merely middle-aged, even following the several whining upstarts only cutting-edge as far as their own edges, who, trust me, will never make it to legacy status. That’s me following the clause “Some older hosts still balk at the digital experience” ending in “[Feldman] said podcasting is like pretending you’re on the radio. It’s designed for one individual who is doing an elliptical machine for 20 minutes.” I know what I mean, since trying to entertain, enlighten or engage such an individual, gasping for breath, who, at his age and condition, should be mall walking, for me to direct all my creative attention and 30-plus years of radio trial and error skills, upon him, and him alone, is enough to give me an existential crisis.

Thank God for Wall St. Journal readers, who, to a man, woman and self-styled pundit, have never doubted that National Public Radio is a Communist Front, and who still and always will revile Garrison Keillor for appearing at the podium of the 1988 Democrat Convention with a blended bunch of kids (were they all above average?) and Michael Dukakis, admittedly, a very scary and confused scenario, if not a Marxist-Leninist one. I, true, was not singled out as a fellow traveler by a single commenter, none of whom, I presume, had heard my endearing heartwarming stories from Lake Jewbegone. I will say, based on their biting, unequivocal and unanimous decision, not one of them has or will ever suffer an existential crisis.

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One Comment on “Public Radio Existentialism or La Nausee”

  1. N osborn Says:

    Fabulous. Keep on doing what you do. I’ll be there.


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