Comments I Made While Hosting My First — and Last — Public Radio Pledge Drive

Valued listeners, you’re all no-good, freeloading scum. For shame, for shame.

NPR means listener-supported radio that’s made possible by listeners like you. Except for you, Mary L. Atkins on 1434 Guilford Avenue. That’s right, we’re naming names and we’re going to call out every last one of you deadbeat scoundrels. Don’t think that you can just get away with listening without making a pledge today.

If we don’t meet our goal of raising $3,000 this hour, the lights are going off. We won’t be able to pay the electric bill. It’s over. Oh God, oh dear God, it’s all over.

Go ahead. Go to the library and rent an audio book this week. Listen to some podcasts. Sign up for a free trial of Audible. You can escape our repetitive pleas for the contributions we depend on, but you’ll never evade that needling thought that you’re a horrible person who fails to pay your fair share.

Let’s try a thought experiment. Remember how you listened to NPR programs every day for the last however many years and how our insightful news coverage was only thing that made your billboard-littered, buttocks-deadening commute tolerable? Then recall how you contributed nothing to pay for all the distracting content your public radio station provided day in and day out. Then think about what that makes you. Well, what does that make you?

Faithful listeners, have you ever tuned into commercial radio? Two guys prattle on about how satisfying their bowel movements are and laugh at the same aborted jokes they’ve been repeating since Tip O’Neill was Speaker of the House. And, of course, there’s five minutes of commercials after every minute of programming. And those commercials are all about the shouting. The half-drunk and aneurysm-inducing announcer shrieks that there’s zero percent APR financing at least five times, then repeats the phone number to the dealership another five times. That’s the way those clowns operate 365 days a year, and it’s like plunging a fondue fork into your eye socket and scraping out your frontal lobe. We can switch to that format right now if you people don’t feel obliged to contribute. We have to pay the bills somehow, people. Make a pledge today.

For a contribution of just $250, you can get a plastic water bottle with our station logo and a plastic drinking straw. That’s a great value. That’s not something you can just find in stores. Show your support.

Maybe you’re poor. Maybe you’re just too much of a failure in life to contribute to the National Public Radio programming that you enjoy every day. Maybe the kids who loiter in the gas station parking lot make fun of you for being an empty-pocketed loser who hasn’t yet made a pledge to your local public radio station. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can better yourself. Call now.

This hour we’ve got a two-for-one match going. For every dollar you donate, that’s two fewer times I’ll punch you in the temple when I see you splurging at Starbucks without our station’s tote bag.

I just combed through the entire Emancipation Proclamation, and there’s no exemption made for reporters, even in radio. By the executive order of the 16th President of the United States of America, we have to pay them something and that’s why we’re asking for your support. We don’t have to pay the reporters a lot or even enough so they can eat out at fancy places like that gyro joint on 42nd Street that has the Metal Slug arcade game and mysterious stains on the walls, but we do have to pay them something.

National Public Radio is like an oxcart that depends on valued, faithful listeners like you. As the proverb says, many oxen make light work. But you’re not pulling your weight and now the cart is broken down in the river. Glug, glug, glug. Hear that? We’re drowning. Unbiased not-for-profit journalism without all the hype and sensationalism is drowning. Consequently, America is drowning like a wet, frightened ox that couldn’t ford the river. Asphyxiation will be the official cause of death if you don’t help now. No, not when you get to work, now!