And we’re back. Well folks, it’s that time of year again: pledge drive season, where we count on the support of listeners like you to help sustain the work we do here at NPR. Do you love listening to shows like Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered? Well too bad, because we’re not playing any of those until you freeloaders pay up.

Here at NPR, we pride ourselves on delivering the best programming radio has to offer, from the delightful Tiny Desk Concerts to the even tinier desk where we keep Terry Gross. Except for pledge drive season, when we air some of the worst radio you’ve ever imagined until you pay us to stop.

That’s right. Until we make back our operating budget, we’re going to be playing nothing but tedious niche journalism, weird-ass world music, and this recording of what happens when you tumble-dry a sock full of quarters. Remember: you can end this at any point by simply picking up the phone and donating to your local NPR affiliate.

Anyone? No?

Okay then, here comes more of our nine-hour “salute to the oboe.” Up next, a little French number: “Fonc d’le oboe,” or “Funk of the Oboe.” It’s been described by critics as “grating,” “worse than childbirth,” and “a truly trying 90 minutes.”

Fun fact: it is the only song to ever be formally sanctioned by the UN.

Folks, I want to remind you that at any point, I could cut away from this heinous music and back to our previously scheduled programming. We were going to treat you to a delightful episode of Not My Job, in which Michael Imperioli attempts to answer questions about soprano opera singers. He and Peter Sagal get a great rapport going. Michael even recounts a touching anecdote about his conversion to Buddhism. But you won’t get to hear any of it unless you donate.

Instead, we’ll be joined by Ira Glass for a special pledge drive edition of This American Life. This week, it’s one full hour of your cousin Brett talking about how joining CrossFit changed his life. You won’t believe how many ways there are to do a pull-up, all of which are wrong.

Not hearing any rings from the phone bank, so it’s time to pull out the big guns: I just dug through the archives and uncovered this excruciatingly detailed ten-part series about the contentious 1967 election for assistant comptroller of Peoria, Illinois. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but let’s just say it all comes down to the bylaws governing municipal household waste. You’ll be happy to know that in Part Six, they read them all aloud.

After that, we’ll go to a recording of Steve Inkseep absolutely demolishing a double cheeseburger. He doesn’t talk, but it’s him. You can tell from the professorial timbre of his chewing. Again, donate to help us keep public radio alive and I’ll hide this tape somewhere it can never hurt anyone ever again.

Oh! A donation just came in. Five dollars from Dan Stanley of Dubuque, who writes, “Oh god, oh god, please just make it stop. My radio tuner is broken, and this is the third time you’ve played ‘Fonc d’le Oboe’ this morning.” Really Dan? Five dollars? Well that’s not gonna cut it, I’m afraid. Joining me live in-studio is my producer’s ten-year-old daughter Emily, who just had her first violin lesson. She’s going to be practicing “Hot Cross Buns” for the next five hours. Take it away, Emily.

Boy, that bow is dry.

Look, just throw us a few bucks, and we can all get on with our lives. You think I like this? I got into public radio to make a difference. I wanted to bring you touching stories of the triumphs and sadnesses of modern life. I wanted to interview a panel of experts about global warming’s effect on the mating rituals of carpenter ants. Instead, thanks to decades of defunding, I’m stuck coming into work day after day just to ask you for money.

I mean, we’re part of the government, for God’s sake. You know how much money the government spends on stupid crap? Like the navy—when was the last time the navy did anything for you? Would the navy ever entertain and educate you with a heartwarming episode of Planet Money about the rise and fall of Chicago’s Onion King? No. All they do is float around on their little boats. I mean, do you have any idea how many hours of Car Talk we could make for the cost of a single Tomahawk cruise missile?

But no, instead we’re reduced to begging for the support of valued listeners like you. It’s enough to make me sick.

Anyway, donate $15 in the next ten minutes, and you’ll receive a free travel mug.


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