Abbot And Car-stello

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:07 pm

I listen to local NPR station KUOW just about every morning. Lately I’ve noticed a pattern that has probably been in place for some time.

The Morning Edition time slot is hosted locally by Deborah Brandt. Like most NPR hosts, she is articulate and has a pleasant voice. Unfortunately, she also has a really lame sense of humor.

And the sounding board for her lame sense of humor is, inevitably, poor Bonnie Brown, the woman staffing the Metro Traffic desk during the same time slot. She is forced to play straight-man to someone who thinks it’s funny to conclude a traffic report with, “wow, maybe we should change your name from ‘Downtown Bonnie Brown’ to ‘Slow Down Bonnie Brown’!” You can hear the poor woman’s exasperation in her feeble attempt at laughter, a sort of “oh, heh heh heh, mmm.” She can’t just ignore the comment, she can’t say what she really thinks about Brandt’s little bon mot, so all she can do it grit her teeth and chuckle gamely—or perhaps “gamily”.

How I wish I could free Bonnie Brown from social convention—and disciplinary action—for just one morning! I’d give just about anything to hear her say something like, “Oh, puh-leeze, Deborah, can’t you for the love of God just say ‘Thanks, Bonnnie’ and leave it at that? Must you force me to play Ed McMahon to your endless cornucopia of ham-handed segues? What is wrong with you?”

Then again, I’m not sure I’m mentally prepared to listen to a Public Radio host cry on the air.

One Response to “Abbot And Car-stello”

  1. Joe Says:

    I have been listening to the local Air America station, KTPK, and have encountered a reverse version of the problem you describe. KTPK has yet to hire any local talk hosts but since they are an Infinity station they receive traffic reports on the same contract as their other local stations like KZOK. The result is that instead of bad humor or chatter about weekend plans the traffic reporters come on the air give their report and sign off without acknowledgment of the listeners.

    Basically, it makes the station which ignores local issues seem even less connected. I like Air America but the lack of local programming has been disappointing to me and the disconnect of local traffic reports followed by discussions of events in New York have only highlighted that frustration for me.

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