[Hype Hype Hooray] A Politics-Free Case to Keep NPR or Would You Rather Listen to Creed?

Every [two weeks?] Jamie Hale takes a long, hard look at the music industry and the blog scene that feeds it. Here, he releases those findings and makes snarky, sarcastic remarks. Admittedly, both Jamie and Knox Road are a part of this scene. So sue us.

Congress’ battle over NPR has involved a lot of politics that I’m not even going to get into. What is this, The Drudge Something? We here at Knox Road don’t subscribe to any political ideology (publicly) and that political ideology certainly has no place in the discussion of music! So excuse me as I attempt to weave through this potentially treacherous mine field that is a discussion about the importance of NPR on our radios.

NPR! We all love it don’t we? If you don’t, you’re a Hitler moustache (I’m avoiding politics by being extreme!). Let’s think for a moment about your radio options. You have your 89.9X or whatever that plays a mix of classic rock, 90s “alternative” and Nickelback. You also have your soothing adult contemporary station if you like your music very calm and very Chuck Mangione. You also have your top 40, your hip/hop and R&B and your country stations. They’re great if you like those kinds of music!

But what if you DON’T like those kinds of music? What if you spend your days trolling indie music blogs listening the latest in electronica and indie rock? Well, you should probably get satellite radio because NOTHING will satisfy your musical urges. But if you, like me, don’t have the scratch to spend on some new equipment to install in a car that you’ll undoubtedly total within a year, you turn to the next best option: NPR.

Since NPR isn’t driven by hungry capitalist advertisers, DJs can play whatever they want. Old Johnny Cash? Sure! New Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Why not? Several variations of “Cotton-Eyed Joe?” Yes! Even that! What NPR gives us is a non-consumer driven medium that cares about quality. Nowhere else (except expensive, dumb satellite radio) can music fans get that kind of quality.

Ignore the low-talking, the awful “Car Talk” show and the incessant pledge drives, and you’ll see a community of people who care about the songs and artists they play. It’s the community that gave us the World Cafe, Mountain Stage and JazzSet. It’s the community that will play almost anything if you request it (but especially if it’s James Taylor). I can’t say “go talk to your politicians” or anything because that’s annoying and I would never do that.

But the fact that our last bastion of good radio is publicly under fire is more than a little concerning. If I have to listen to three hours of “American Idiot” and “Arms Wide Open” just to MAYYYBE hear “Where is My Mind” I’m going to intentionally total my car to end the madness.

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