Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Diane Rehm on the radio: Why?

Moving now to media criticism, I would like to respectfully suggest that NPR move The Diane Rehm Show to some time slot when I'm not listening. Let's say 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. As it stands, I'm forced to curse and make pained facial expressions during the two morning hours she's on KMUW here in Wichita. And that's not always convenient.

Look, I know about the spasmodic dysphonia, the vocal condition that makes her sound like somebody's dotty grandmother trying not to slur her words after a second bottle of white zinfandel. That's a tough break and she can't help it. Far be it from me to criticize someone's disability. On the other hand, since there aren't many slots open for radio personalities, you'd think they could find one with the minimum qualification: a voice that does not evoke fingernails on a chalkboard.

You'd also think they could find one with a personality. That's my real beef with Diane Rehm: the personality. She has no sense of timing, she interrupts knowledgable guests to interject inane non sequiturs, and worst of all, she has no discernible sense of humor. Don't ask me why she's smiling in the picture; maybe she's imagining a deadly strain of ebola that infects only Republican males. That's another thing about Diane: she eschews any pretense of objectivity. Fine, there are plenty of right-wing ranters out there too. But couldn't she at least make a joke once in awhile?

The prosecution rests. Except to add that Diane Rehm's familiarity with world events doesn't appear to extend much past 1997. All in all, it's a crappy radio show and I'm at a loss to explain its purported popularity.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, David,

I thought she was somebody's dotty old grandmother. I had no idea she was merely post-menopausal.


Jessie K said...

I am so with you about Diane Rehm! Yeegads is she annoying. It's not the voice, it's her personality! She has no charm whatsoever. She comes down like a hatchet.

Shadow said...

So glad I'm not the only person who turns on the radio & thinks, "CRAP! She's on, now I have to listen to stupid top40 or country music."

She could still contribute to a show without being the on-air talent. I hope she retires.

Dana Billingsley said...

Couldn't agree more! I am at work and wanted to stream some NPR for a bit. Of course, she is on at the moment!! I can never get past her voice enough to pay attention to the interview before I have to change the station - but you are right in that she doesn't have any sort of comic relief in her shows - that is the main problem. Maybe she is concentrating so hard on getting through the interviews, that humor just doesn't come to mind?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree! I mean, I sympathize tremendously with her condition, but at the same time, NPR should sympathize with us having to listen to her!

JohnnyMox122 said...

I feel like someone has hit the "slow motion" button on my life when she's talking, but the world is still going by at the same pace.

Basically, a nightmare where you are stuck in slow motion.

My fingers can't change the station fast enough.

Anonymous said...

Diane seems like a good person and a bright soul, but she is not good radio. She know zippo about science, she asks dumb questions, she tears into callers who criticize the MSM, and she allow speechmaking callers to drone on and on before she finally cuts them off. I do enjoy her Supreme Court review shows, however.

Anonymous said...

Ten years ago I wrote NPR and expressed disbelief that she was still on the air. Why? Announcers and broadcasters should posess skills and traits that make them pleasant to listen to, as well as the ability to ask insightful, intelligent questions. Nada on Diane. She speaks so slowly and gratingly that as one other writer said "it is like fingernails on a chalkboard." And if that weren't enough, she has zero personality, interrupts her guests (who are more intelligent than she is and more interesting to listen to), and then asks them some stupid question that is off-track and inane. It appears she never prepares her questions beforehand. Who keeps this person on the air? And why??

jsnr said...

It's a tribute to Diane that these posts clearly display the lack of culture and intellect of their writers. Yeah, I'm insulting you. If you don't like her, turn on the "sound byte media" that delivers dumbed-down and recycled info for anyone without an attention span longer than a few seconds. Diane actually lets us come to our own conclusions. To listen to her, you have to think, so obviously she's not for everyone.

Captain_A said...


Yes I am insulting YOU! You are soo off base. I am a well educated, well read, well spoken listener and long term subscriber to NPR. That being said, you are representing the absolute WORST stereotype about "educated liberals" or , perhaps you are a name calling "Republic" supporter? The beauty of this country is Freedom of Speech. One can disagree without calling names or assaulting someones intelligence, or perhaps you missed that point!

I have no desire to listen to ANYONE, left or right, who is inane and uneducated. Ms. Rehms is guilty of all the things being said about her here in this posting. I am happy to hear, for "Diane"'s sake that at least one person finds her tiresome inanity entertaining but I just spent an hour listening to her ask the stupidest questions and say the dumbest things to the great Dr. Ralph Stanley. I was apoplectic ( angry to you) listening to her idiocy and only stayed tuned because Dr. Stanley is one of Americas great treasures.

Anonymous said...

The show itself is very good in that it seems to book some pretty amazing guests. The problem is Ms. Rehm, and it's not her voice... It's that she often DOES interrupt very learned guests with inane questions that often very clearly indicate that she either hasn't been listening to them or cannot comprehend what they are saying. She summarizes what they have just said (not often very well) instead of letting THEM talk. And she keeps interjecting stories about herself -- I thought we were supposed to be hearing the guest!

A good host lets the guest speak for him or herself, may guide the conversation, but doesn't restate the speakers points and certainly doesn't talk about themselves.

I enjoy the show very much when Diane is away.

I don't know if she is involved with guest selection and booking -- if so, then she should remain on staff and help out in putting on the program. She could certainly act as guest host from time to time - especially when there are "more sentimental" guests on - but, honestly, she should retire her seat to a new regular host.