NPR In Quincy

Back in the mid-seventies when my ex-wife and I moved to a rural and remote place in Knox County, MO, there weren’t many media choices. Quincy IL pop FM stations were the only options. We didn’t have a TV and didn’t want one. These were prehistoric days, long before the advent of the internet.

FM radio advertisements, heavy-handed hard-sells for products I had no interest in, were getting on my nerves. One day, during a break from building our first house, I switched our little portable radio to the AM band and scanned across it, looking for something different.

I ended up at WOI, an AM station from Ames, IA which broadcasted a lot of farm price reports — but they also broadcasted National Public Radio shows like All Things Considered and A Prairie Home Companion. I was sucked right in; the reporters, such as Susan Stamberg and Noah Adams, had some sort of hard-to-define cultivated quality in their voices. I felt like I had found “my people”, like Eastern European Jews recently emigrated to America a hundred years ago who found other Jews in tenement districts in New York City.

I’ve been an NPR fan ever since those days. Since moving to Quincy my main station is WQUB, a station broadcasting from Quincy University. The station manager is a youngish woman named Maryfaith. She hosts two shows: “Romance On The River”, an hour every night of love songs, many of which peg my personal sentimentality meter, and “Books And More”, a book review show which features interviews with authors.

The last show is really well-done; Maryfaith has obviously read the books featured and is thus able to talk intelligently with the featured author. Maryfaith recorded some commercials for the “Books and More” show, and last winter one of those commercials was getting on my nerves, just seriously annoying me. She said in the commercial:

“I’ll help you keep up with the latest littachur!”

I couldn’t take it. I went to the WQUB web-site and left a message there:

“Will somebody please tell Maryfaith that the word literature has four syllables?”

Two days later the commercials had been re-recorded with the correct pronunciation, and I received a nice e-mail message from Maryfaith thanking me for my input.

I felt like a curmudgeon when I left that message at the station web-site, I must admit, so kudos go to Maryfaith for accepting it gracefully.




Filed under Quincy, Recollections

5 responses to “NPR In Quincy

  1. Joan

    Mea culpa! Mea Culpa! I just found myself doing the same thing as Maryfaith. Boy! It’s so easy to slip over that pesky “a” without realizing it. Am so glad I’m not in her shoes. She is one of the few announcers that not only (finally) realizes that literature has 4 syllables but who is actually literate enough to fix it. Well, at least I don’t call the book depository the ‘libary.’ 🙂
    Now you’ve started me on one of my favorite rants. Announcers who butcher what used to be the king’s English. The most egregious is the almost universal substitution of ‘impacted’ for affected. The most ear jarring to me, is the subject verb disagreement as follows ..”.They know in their heart…blah blah.. ” “Our (meaning all of the TV station. ) heart goes out to these poor people..etc etc.” Big hearted people indeed, but they don’t share a universal heart. Strangely enough, in this case a king might be the only one allowed to use the ‘royal plural’ in this way. And doctors of course…who reverse it . “How are ‘we’ feeling today”. He might be feeling great. He’s getting my check. Me? Not so much or I wouldn’t be here.
    Don’t even get me started on the commercials. The chirpy little female morsels who want you to send for a free brochure for a “creer you love. ” I find myself screaming. “It’s carEER you WILL love, dunderhead!.” You don’t get to love it till 1. you learn how to pronounce it and 2. you make it your career.
    Finally. Thank you Larry. A great story…and one in which you met with rare success.
    A tiny victory in the literacy wars. (Notice..I didn’t say ‘litercy.’ 🙂

  2. Joan

    P.S. I rarely listen to NPR but I’m reading it on line religiously, as the N.Y.Times has gone to a pay for view plan. Oh woe! We are allowed a measly 20 articles a month to read free, before we are cut off. Now why not at least 30…for the days of the month? Geesh! I used to read up to 20 a day. (sob!)

  3. That’s too bad about the NY Times — but there are other sites like Slate (sponsored by the Washington Post), and my old favorite Arts and Letters Daily ( — there is still a plenitude of good stuff to read out there on the web!

    The New Yorker still allows access to many of their articles, too.

  4. Joan

    Thanks Larry! Wow! Yay! Love the Arts and Letter blog. Didn’t know it existed. Rented the following Stanley Fish book a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed it more for the quotes of great sentences than his philsophy..but then I’d read his philosophy in the Times before I got cut off. (grin)

  5. I liked your phrase “chirpy little female morsels”, Joan. TV attracts such young women like sod attracts Japanese Beetle larvae.

    I’m glad you like the Arts and Letters Daily site; every blogger likes to get comments with exclamations such as “Wow!” and “Yay!”.

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