This is day two of my cancer treatment. I am writing about the radio programmes that I have enjoyed since boyhood. One radio show per treatment.
I was lucky enough to live in the US for four years towards the end of my corporate career. I was excited at the prospect of moving to Northern Virginia and expecting to enjoy lots of things about the American way of life. I had rather low expectations, however, mostly confirmed by experience, about the quality of radio and TV that I would encounter. One exception was much of the content provided by NPR, National Public Radio. NPR is funded by corporate and private contributions; no licence fee in the States. One particular show, produced by NPR affiliate, WBEZ Chicago, was an important part of Saturday mornings in those days and I continue to listen back in the UK.
Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me is a current affairs quiz hosted by playwright Peter Segal. In normal times there was a live audience. The panel, appearing live or dialling in from distant homes, is made up of journalists, commentators and satirists of various colours. It leans rather to the left, at least by US standards. During the Trump Election campaign, there was a period of several months when the first question sought the identity of the perpetrator of some absurdity of the week. The answer was always Donald Trump.
A favourite panelist is cat loving Paula Poundstone who has had a chequered past herself but somehow has always bounced back perhaps simply because she is just plain funny.
Wait, Wait invites listeners to dial in and answer, mostly quirky, news questions, triggering some lively banter from the panellists. Success is rewarded with a personalised answerphone recording featuring the dulcet tones of scorekeeper Bill Kurtis.
An eclectic collection of guest interviewees appear as part of the show. Recent guests include actor Don Cheadle, astronaut Christina Koch and figure skater Adam Rippon. As well as answering their quota of news related questions, they offer insights into their interesting lives.
Brits tend to look down their noses at American humour (actually most sorts of comedy not invented here). Here is one way to put the record straight.