Yesterday's drive back from Boston took a little longer than usual, as bad weather started right at the Maine border. (Today is warmer, but rainy; snow starts tomorrow. Sigh.)
I didn't really mind, though, since I hadn't seen or heard any news earlier in the day, and Maine Public Radio gave me wall-to-wall coverage of the Blagojevich arrest.
But MPR wasn't giving me timely weather updates, so I switched over to a commercial station -- and almost blasted myself out of the car. Not only was the volume of the commercial station much louder than MPR's, but the radio announcer's voice was totally different -- smoother, brighter, louder.
Public radio's voices are an easy target for comedians -- Saturday Night Live had a recurring feature called "The Delicious Dish" featuring Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon, which produced one of the funniest SNL sketches of all time (here -- only marginally safe for work, and even funnier if you just listen without the video).
Why is this? Why do some radio formats demand the "broadcaster voice" and others discourage it? Why do public radio broadcasters often sound as if they're talking down violent offenders?
Five Random Songs
"From Off to On," The Knife. A track from a rare live performance (Gothenburg 4/12/06); The Knife are a Swedish brother and sister who perform in long black coats, black wigs and masks. The fact that I own this 2-CD set, a gift from a friend, makes me way, way cooler than most people. (Thanks, John.)
"Rainbow Tour," Mandy Patinkin, Patti Lupone and Company. From the Evita soundtrack.
"Rotten Peaches," Elton John. I got a copy of Madman Across the Water from my brother-in-law over Thanksgiving, and have been listening to it just about nonstop since. Thanks, Scott!
"Alone," Daisy Eagan and Matt Prager. From the original demo recording of She Can't Believe She Said That, the musical I stage-managed this fall. Someone else's voice is on this track, too, but I don't know whose -- Matt? Matt's currently mixing the original cast recording, and I'll announce it as soon as it becomes available.
"Better Days," Bruce Springsteen. From Lucky Town. "I got a new set of clothes and a pretty red rose/And a woman I can call my friend."