Migration — As It Happens Is Happenin’

Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Update Note: “As It Happens” is no longer on my local public radio stations. It can be found here.

Anyone reading these posts knows I’m a news junkie. In fact until recently I called myself a recovering journalist – an addiction being anything that interferes with one’s daily life. Journalism certainly did until I went cold turkey in August 2001. Had a brief relapse in September but have continued on the road to recovery ever since.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t follow the news. It just means that I don’t let it absorb every minute of the day. I scan the headlines on line in the Times and read the state and local news (what’s left of it) in the Hartford Courant. In the evening I catch a half-hour of All Things Considered on National Public Radio. After that, I used to listen to Fresh Air. Terry Gross remains the best interviewer in any medium – radio, TV, print, wherever. But her programs lately have been predictable. Digging around in politics, which I regard as deadly, and since the right-wingers got to NPR, she’s had an over abundance of conservative bloviators.
Now I listen to the best news/features show on the air. The Canadian Broadcasting Company’s As It Happens lives up to its name. It features interviews with leading journalists, scholars, and other experts from the heart of the action. And they break news before the US MSM.
Last night they interviewed an analyst from the Republic of Georgia. He reported information that had not yet otherwise made it into the news cycle in this country. The guy’s name was Archil Gegeshidze, and the host pronounced it without stuttering! Would that American broadcast people, especially on commercial radio and on blab TV could do the same. I’ve yet to hear one of them say the name of the Russian president correctly. The Canadians say it like native Russian speakers, and they slip between English and French seamlessly.
The show isn’t all serious stuff, either. Last night featured a great segment entitled “Farewell to a Hot Buttered Soul,” including an interview with Isaac Hayes when he first started to appear in the sick, twisted, wicked and absolutely hysterical South Park. It’s a shame that Chef couldn’t take the Scientology mockery, since spoofing everything else seemed to be OK. Check out “Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls.”
And finally As It Happens has given me an appreciation (sort of) for puns and other play on words humor, which I generally find witless. But theirs tend to be somewhat more sophisticated than USA humor. Having just previewed an item about Darwin’s research into the connection between women’s hair color and their mating habits, the host said in perfect Canadian, “As It Happens, the Monday edition. Radio that doesn’t know whether blondes have more fun — but is dye-ing to find out.” Bad but not terrible. Another, more serious piece about funding cuts to two overseas arts programs, was headlined “Tugging at the Art Strings.”
All things considered, I find myself enjoying As It Happens far more than pretty much any other program.


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