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Tiny Minds and Big Mouths

A few years ago, I was driving across Eastern Utah looking for a radio station. I found two, but they were both playing Rush Limbaugh. Okay, I might disagree with Rush's politics, but I find his form of discourse even less agreeable. He's a blowhard. A riot inciter. A tiny mind hiding behind a big mouth.

For years, radio seemed to be the medium for tiny minds to hide out behind big mouths. Air America started a few years ago, and I found their minds just as tiny and the mouths just as big. Disagreeable discourse. Really no different than Rush.

I rarely listen to music when I drive. I find it distracting. And I really hate having other people choose my music for me. Also, my radio distorts music into squawks and squeaks, making most music sound like a Tourettes performance. So, I usually listen to books on tape.

For radio, and with the advent of podcasting I don't need a radio to listen to the radio, some terrific alternatives to tiny minds and big mouths are available.

I daily download Tom Asbrook's On Point program from WBUR in Boston. Tom employs a conversational style, invites a great mix of guests-ranging from the most frustrating conservatives to the most inspiring progressives. He takes calls and engages in lively discourse on really important issues.

I never miss Diane Rehm's Friday News Roundup program. She invites three top journalists in to dissect the prior week's news. Always at least one conservative voice. She also takes calls. The rest of the week, she invites authors and others to discuss their work and take calls. A warm and refreshing listen. Always.

To The Best Of Our Knowledge (to the BOOK, get it?) is an interview program specifically focused on discussing books. Short segments with thoughtful themes, always centered around some common topic. This program, too, is always inspiring.

To find your own favorite big minds with small mouths, I recommend Public Radio Fan. It lists virtually every public radio on the planet. Wanna know what's on in Australia this hour? Here's the place to look. It features RealPlayer (and that wannabe lightweight Windows Media Player) links. Also podcast links. I like to listen to the morning news from London before going to bed at night.

These are my top three talk radio programs. I download them to iTunes and listen at my convenience. If you're like me and insist upon civil discourse, these programs will reassure you that radio is a lot more than tiny minds and big mouths.

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