Inspired by another thread I started recently about “Whad’Ya Know?” A lot of the responses compared this show to other people’s favorites, and there were a couple of shows mentioned that I’d never even heard of. So, NPR junkies, what’s your top 3, and why?
Hey, I’ll go first
1. Wait, Wait…
Laugh-out-loud funny just about every time. I think Peter Sagal’s a genius. The guests are almost always suprisingly funny, and the panels are great. Plus, I enjoy following the news headlines, so the quizzes are always fun for me.
2. (tie) Car Talk
Again with the laugh-out-loud funny. Although I think Ray’s (or is it Tom’s) snorting probably makes me laugh more than anything. As WhyNot mentioned in the other thread, it’s fun to listen to these guys talk about cars with knowledge and humor even if you don’t care a lick about working on cars yourself. My favorite part is generally when people are forced to imitate the noise their car is making. Good stuff!
2. (tie) This American Life
I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a show that can make me laugh so much and depress me so often in the same hour. It’s just quality stuff. One of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard in my life came from this show (look up “Squirrel Cop” sometime if you aren’t familiar with it).
With every road trip we take, we make sure to save up episodes of those three shows so we can listen to them while we travel. Guaranteed to keep you awake and in good spirits.
Weekend Edition Sunday
I find Liane Hansen to be incredibly soothing on a Sunday morning, and I always get a kick out of trying to keep up with Will Shortz’s puzzles.
Alright – your turn!
Car Talk. What radio should be.
This American Life. When it’s good, there’s nothing like it. When it’s bad, it’s still better than anything on commercial radio.
Wait Wait. Who knew that current events were so funny?
PHC, Splendid Table, Fresh Air are all great, also.
Car Talk - Genuinely funny and enjoyable.
Wait, Wait - Peter Sagal is hilarious, as is the panel(usually).
Other than this, I like Diane Rehm when she interviews someone I care about.
It’s a tossup between Car Talk and Marketplace
1. Says You!
I’m slightly biased; this is local, I’ve met the host (briefly), my voice can be heard in one episode calling out an answer from the audience, and I have a wicked crush on Carolyn Faye Fox. It’s an old-style quiz show, where the questions are an excuse to launch a thousand quips. (“What’s the common thread among ‘banjo’, ‘bloodsucker’, and ‘Bartok’?” “Those are my attorneys.”) I’m still hoping he’ll use one of my questions. Every week, more radios are tuned to Says You! than any other appliance.
2. Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me…
It’s a very close second. (I have a crush on Roxanne Roberts, too, but she’s not on every week.) I went to a taping of this a few years ago, and it was great fun. Whoever picks their musical cues is an absolute genius; here was a question about putting a baby through an airport x-ray machine… Sometimes that’s the best laugh of the whole show. Recording an answering machine message as the prize was inspired, and I’m amazed at some of the guests they get.
3. Car Talk
Also local. I almost want something mysterious to go wrong with my car so I can call them; maybe when I get my MG back on the road. Pledged to the local station and got to go to a showing of Cars with Tom and Ray; great fun.
The Baby Nubbins one had me cackling.
Engines of Our Ingenuity. John Lienhard is local here and we consider him quite the treasure.
Wait, Wait and Fresh Air.
First, the news.
Robot Arm, my list is the same as yours and in the same order. I know nothing about cars, but it amuses me to hear my husband diagnose the callers’ problems before Tom and Ray do. I was on a trip last week and got to call him from Harvard and he told me to look for Tom and Ray’s bench, but I didn’t know where to look.
I don’t know about a bench, but from Harvard Square (the subway station, Out Of Town News, the Harvard Coop) you can see this window.
Apparently there is a bench in the Square where they like to relax and people-watch. I could have asked a tour guide, but I was on a business trip and was with my boss, who is of little humor. I wanted to go see the Lampoon castle too, but I would have had to . . . explain . . . see, there’s this . . . magazine . . .
Car Talk and Splendid Table. Wait Wait third.
I like The Infinite Mind and The Thomas Jefferson Hour but I generally only listen during the week and my local affiliate doesn’t get many of the other shows.
However, when I work down in Los Angeles Nic Harcout’s Morning Becomes Eclectic is a necessary listen.
The OP pretty much summed it up for me, though I’d also add Fresh Air & Prairie Home Companion. Sadly, my wife HATES the sound of the voices of Ira Glass and Garrison Keillor, so I can’t really listen to those shows (since we’re usually together all the time on the weekends). And the only radio we listen to is in the car, which means the rest of the weekend lineup is dependant on us driving somewhere (again, a little unusual since we usually do all our walking then, too).
Which means Terri Gross on my way home from work is the only regular NPR fix I get.
Shameless Plug: I am a periodic panelist on Minds Over Matter (I’m on the sub roster when one of the regulars can’t make it), so I get to be one of those soothing NPR voices once in a while.
Based on what I record every week, it would be Car Talk, Wait Wait, This American Life, Prairie Home Companion, World Cafe, and Best of This American Life. I’m about to start recording the Weekend Edition Sunday Puzzle, and if I’m trying to come up with a way to automate recording Michael Feldman’s Whad’ya Know? from their live webcast every week if I can figure out how.
Car Talk is my favorite, though. Been listening more or less continuously since 1989 or so.
I’ve only ever heard car talk up here; it’s picked up on a local A.M. station.
I freakin’ love this show! I’d like to invite Tom and ray over for a BBQ some time. Hilarity would ensue.
This American Life
Prairie Home Companion
Car Talk (I used to like this a lot more, but the brothers sometimes grate on my nerves)
Pretty much in that order. I also like the jazz show on Sunday afternoons. It just transports me to a different era, and I love the old man voice of the host.
And weeping on the inside. That was one of the most amazing essays I’ve ever heard.
This American Life
Morning/Weekend Edition (esp. Will Shortz’ segment of WE)
What Do You Know?
I would probably like Wait, wait…, as I said in another thread, but it’s on when I’m in church. I’ll have to find it online or something.