Rambling Review: The New Yorker Radio Hour

The New Yorker Radio Hour premiered this week on WNYC. Much to my chagrin, Car Talk has been taken off the air as a result. Personally, I am really bummed I will no longer spend my Saturday mornings listening to Click and Clack chuckle while I catch up on emails, pay bills, and sort my laundry.

That said, I understand why WNYC replaced Car Talk with The New Yorker Radio Hour. In recent years, they have gradually tweaked their weekend schedule to better appeal to a new generation of listeners (or so I imagine). Their first move by moving Jonathan Schwartz to Sunday was a great idea.

While I will miss Car Talk, I wanted to give this new show a listen, to see what could possibly top brotherly banter between Click and Clack. With minimal revisions, here are my initial thoughts on the show, segment by segment.

Let the ramblings commence (it might be worthwhile if you listen along, too):

  • What is this weird intro about boarding planes? I fly often for work, and this isn’t amusing. Maybe it’s not supposed to be? Sometimes parts of the print version of The New Yorker are still a bit over my head.
  • Good call with interviewing Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’m currently reading Between the World and Me, and it is a popular book at the library. A timely discussion on a modern and prolific author, with a conversation tied to history, and not just about his book. Great first piece! As a young whippersnapper, the audio clips gave me a deeper perspective on the historical parts of the conversation, and I imagine acted as a reminder for older listeners. Good call.
  • People (cartoonists, I think?) are talking about turtleneck sweaters. It sounded like it might have been silly, but it didn’t hold my attention long enough (for what it’s worth, I’m multi-tasking while I cook dinner–pasta and leeks are steep competition).
  • An interview with Kirsten Gillibrand! The New Yorker on WNYC, welp, that just makes sense. I haven’t heard from her in a while, but now I love her. Call me crazy, but I can’t imagine people who really hate Kirsten Gillibrand would be avid readers of The New Yorker, or listeners of public radio.
  • Now I’m listening to a story that references “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I totally spaced out for this one. 😐
  • The last segment is about a pop-punk band that I’ve never heard of. I shall listen intently to see if it is worthy of an addition to my Spotify “Glorious whiney pop-punk emo crap” playlist. Hmm. Ack! This music is indeed a little intense and whiney. I like the conversation going on, and their speaking voices are quite nice, but their music is bit harsh on the ears as a wrap-up piece. o_O Now they are talking about “God-awful, terrible lyrics” from other pop-punk bands. Now I know you ain’t talkin’ about Fall Out Boy, my friend.

Overall verdict: This show is promising, for sure, but I’m not sure I will be able to listen to it live. My brain is not totally awake at 10 AM on Saturdays, and some of the conversations were a bit too heavy or ~srs~ for my groggy morning mind. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to the lighter feel of Car Talk (and I’m not giving myself enough credit?), but this might be more of a podcast that I save to my device and listen to when I have some dedicated Podcast Time.

Either way, props to WNYC to continuing to make progressive change to better appeal to a wider, and, one assumes, younger audience. If y’all were still playing Jonathan Schwartz on weekends, you would have lost me years ago.

Eustace Emoji Cropped by Fred Benenson is licensed under CC BY-2.0.

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