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Really? Seriously?

Posted by Maximum Fun on 29th March 2007

Ever since my little one-sided tiff with Weekend Edition, I’ve been getting emails from people who are dissatisfied with some aspect of NPR. These folks are usually like me… they invariably start off saying, “I really love NPR, but…”

Someone told me about the letter I’m about to print below, and I happened to know the producer of the show, so I asked her if I could reprint it here, since it was so, well… unbelievable.

The show which prompted the letter, 11 Central Ave, is a really neat idea. Basically, it’s a super-short (3 minute) serial dramady about a family reacting to the news. It’s run on some neat stations during the local slots in NPR news shows. Our friends at WUSM in Hattiesburg run it, for example. Besides hearing it on the radio you can also hear it as a podcast.

Anyway, here’s a listener letter that the show’s producer got:

This show is possibly the *worst* thing ever to reach air on an NPR
station! How can you even think it’s good? Are you really carried only
on Boston’s WBUR an only three (of hundreds!) of NPR stations?

Here’s the letter I sent to NPR — in error, as it turns out — and to

Please, please, please. Enough of 11 Central Ave.

Its not funny. Its poorly written. Its poorly read (certainly not acted
its as if the readers are doing cold reads of the script!).

The only advantage: It gets me leaping across the room to turn off

This is the worst thing ever on NPR — and Ive been listening since the


And here’s the response I got from NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday staff.
Not exactly a vote of confidence.

We completely agree with you about 11 Central Avenue. But I must tell
you it is NOT an NPR production. It is produced independently and has
been acquired by 3 stations so far – including WBUR. If that is your
local station, I urge you to go to their website,, and send
your criticism directly to them. We have no control over what stations
insert into our programs, but a letter to them from you will have an
effect that word from us will not. Thanks for your note.

Robert Malesky
Senior Producer
Weekend Edition Sunday

How embarrassing it must be to get dissed by NPR!

No response yet from WBUR. Maybe they got too many complaints?

Please contact WBUR and apologize, then get out of your contract. Then
please destroy any evidence of your lame show and disappear quietly
into another Chicago address: about 1000 yards offshore into Lake Michigan.


They don’t mince words, do they? (I’m referring to NPR, of course.)

Of course, 11 Central Ave is an unusual program, and you’d expect to get a bit of negative response. But doesn’t that response from NPR the listener forwarded shock the heck out of you? I mean, seriously folks…

And to think, when I wrote to Weekend Edition, I only got a form letter back