Car Talk

An anonymous caller left a message on our voice mail. We don’t have permission to play the actual recording, so I’ll do the best I can to capture the flavor of it. “There’s not a lot of talk radio, unless you’re going to listen to Christian, so unfortunately I have to listen to your station. I think it’s pathetic to put down the new president every morning, every angle you can. He’s done more in a week… At least he’s trying. And nobody’s done a weekly address since Franklin Roosevelt. I think you people are scum and maggots.

This message came in this week for our emPowering Our Future campaign, whose last official day was New Year’s Eve. It comes from listener Reed, and it encapsulates a sentiment which I’ve heard from many people: “Congratulations on your success with the emPowering Our Future campaign! Enclosed is a small — and belated — gift to that campaign. I’ll go out on a limb and speculate that there will be an even greater need for public radio in the next four years. Now I have Classical HQR too for those times when I can’t take any more of current events. Best wishes for the continuing success of WHQR!”

By the way, that drive is now $13,000 over the goal of $1.5 million. Together with listener commitments to make future planned gifts such as memorials and bequests, the grand total is approaching an amazing $1.9 million. We are humbled by the response from this incredibly generous community.

Listener Jimmy wrote:

I was a bit taken aback by a story aired in WHQR that informed us that “A conservative limited-government group is actively campaigning against Democratic nominee Deborah Ross in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race”. The story went on to outline their objection to Ms. Ross’ policies, accusing her of “raising taxes and supporting reckless government spending.", buzz words worthy of Roger Ailes.
I found that story, virtually verbatim, in the News and Observer, and discovered that your reporting left out the next paragraph, which revealed that this particular limited government group is funded by the Koch brothers. They, like most superrich, find government spending anathema to their quest to personally acquire the largest share of the nations’ wealth. After all, he who dies with the most cookies wins.

We received some calls and messages on Monday when listeners heard Donald Trump’s full speech to the Detroit Economic Club on our air. Some pointed out that there were some odd moments, such as when our local announcement aired right on top of NPR. Some wondered why we decided to pre-empt Here and Now to carry it. In both cases, at the beginning of the day, we were not aware that NPR intended to preempt the entire noon hour (and beyond) of Here and Now to carry the speech. A communications snafu caused us to miss some of the normally scheduled program cues.

Listener Margee Herring wrote: "As you consider programming to fill aging programs (enough with Car Talk!), or retired programs (Prairie Home) or repetitive programming … , please give thought to introducing a less-than-accessible perspective. Several years ago, NPR conducted its own "voice audit" and recognized that its voices-of-color were frequently less than ethnic-sounding, and thus, began its code-switch programming in earnest. As communities re-consider our country's progress, or lack thereof, in race relations, an authentic and accessible black perspective would valuable.

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Jake Thomason had this reaction to a recent interview on The State of Things from WUNC: “Why is there a Christian discussion on your broadcast right now? My coworkers and I are loyal listeners, but are very concerned and not interested in hearing this. Christians have their own stations. Thank you for your time.” I wrote to Jake that the show segment featured an interview with two people who are attempting to approach environmental activism from a religious perspective, much as Dr. Martin Luther King worked within both an activist and a religious framework in the battle for civil rights.

Here’s a Feedback question I expected to get but did not, as of press time: “What happened to the Midday Interview?” Well, it’s still around, but with several changes. Our daily in-depth look at art, culture and ideas, hosted by Gina Gambony, is now called Communique. It’s still heard at noon on Classical HQR, and now on HQR News twice a day, at 8:50 during Morning Edition and 4:45 during All Things Considered.

MichaelKatzengreis74


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Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday’s 1-Day December Drive. We’re pleased to support the work of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, and we join with them in thanking Food Lion for donating 4 pounds of food for every pledge received. Here’s a typical reaction from the drive. James Jones of Wilmington wrote:

It’s great to see the station & Food Lion helping feed the hungry at this time of year.

We couldn’t agree more. Thank you, everyone.

[AUDIO CLIP]

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Listener Wendy wrote to Mary Bradley:

Thanks for all you do to keep listeners on top of things. I look forward to receiving the [station’s] emails regularly. What’s happened to Friday Feedback? It hasn’t been on air for several weeks. Happy Holidays, to everyone at WHQR.

I wrote to Wendy:

Thanks to vacation schedule and some minor health-related down time, we have rearranged some people’s times on air – you’ve heard Bob Workmon, Gina Gambony, Todd Patterson, Rachel Lewis Hilburn and yours truly taking guest slots, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria, you name it.

Listeners noticed. Anonymous wrote:

**Please note that some material in the following segment and audio contains language that some may find disturbing. Discretion is advised**.

Judith Gebauer wrote:

Please retire the Car Talk rebroadcasts on Saturday mornings.

Bryce Flint-Somerville wrote:

Smooth Landings almost always hits me in exactly the right place. It's as if I have a personal DJ to select the right songs for my emotional reality at the end of the day. Uncanny and sublime!

Listener Anonymous of Oak Island wrote:

It is currently 23:39 and you have your hideous strident Jazz program ruining another evening when people wish to be lulled to sleep. The radio would have been turned off a long time ago except for the BBC which follows. I am aware that I am not the only one unhappy with this daily abusive cacophony so we must be being abused to indulge some WHQR upper echelon exercising their 'Radio With Vision'."

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Listener bicyclestreet wrote:

Hello. Please stop your radio hosts from reading the national and world news topics that be will covered in the upcoming NPR programs. It’s too redundant. Many times the national news hosts already preview the upcoming story. It does not give our own news people more clout - it just sounds weird. I turn the radio off when I hear the Wilmington staff do this.

Listener Sanders wrote:

I love ya'lls new format since the creation of the classical station!...now I can get talk or classical whenever I want plus great jazz and blues at night and still favorites like Smooth Landing and American Songbook!

Listener Nancy wrote:

There's a piece of music I hear every Saturday and I would love to know the name. [Last week] it was played at about 10:20 and it features piano and Hawaiian guitar, maybe steel. Thank you for your attention!

Richard Howard

This edition of Friday Feedback is a little different. I’m actually away at a professional conference this week, so this was recorded early in the week, before many comments typically come in. Still, we’ve had some interesting messages with web pledges recently.

Daniella Murray wrote:

Clear, interesting, and local-I love our NPR station!

Joe Wheeler wrote on his pledge:

In memory of Tom Magliozzi.

Richard Howard

The elections and the electioneering are over; the TV ads are gone, and with a little luck those pesky highway signs will soon be gone. WHQR’s news team spent hour after hour on special programming for our CoastLine talk show, including candidate forums for many events. Before we bid farewell and/or good riddance to all that, here’s a comment from listener LeeAnn:

Anonymous wrote:

Did someone from your station call me and ask right out blank for a … donation at approximately 9 pm on a weeknight? What is this about? I have in the past contributed your station during your pledge drives. Why are you calling me directly for a specific amount? Is this a scam? If not, and it was from your front desk, I am highly insulted.

Stock

Anonymous wrote:

You have a wonderful staff of announcers. Jemila, George, Bob and Pat, Rachel to name but a few all have pleasing radio voices that invite you into their world and make you feel a part of the programming. It's lively, tasteful, colorful, funny, upbeat and always makes for a bright spot in any day when you listen to them. I especially like to hear Barbara Bush beat the bushes for cash during the fund drives. Her bombastic and motherly southern drawl always drives me to action and gets into my pocket.

A different Anonymous wrote:

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I’ve spent some time this week looking over some the comments made by listeners when they pledge at whqr.org. Here’s a sample:

Eldon of Myrtle Beach wrote:

I enjoy the music offerings and the educated radio personalities I encounter, no matter the time or day. Even 'Car Talk' is a welcome change from the idiotic chatter that clutters most every other option on the air.

Christopher of Leland wrote: