One of my guilty pleasures (I am a conservative after all) is listening to NPR every day, both on the drive to work and on the way home. It's the only organization I give money to besides the Boys & Girls Clubs.
Aside from the joy I get trying to identify the liberal bent to their news reporting (it's not really that hard), I also really enjoy just listening to the voices. I'm experienced enough that I can immediately tell when my favorites come on and who they are. It occurred to me this morning that these voices are not unlike another enjoyment of mine - fine wine. When I began to make comparisons, I thought it might be a good idea for a blog post. Feel free to disagree or add your own.
Linda Wertheimer - She was back on Morning Edition this morning and it's always a treat. To me, her voice is my absolute favorite drink - 18 year old single malt Macallan scotch. Rich, smooth and full, I could sit and listen to her all day.
Andrei Codrescu - I'm resisting the urge to call his voice straight vodka because of the obvious Russian connection. Instead, his voice is compelling and entertaining. Not like a fruity drink because there is always substance behind the words. There is humor also. To me, his voice is... a White Russian. Yes, I know there is vodka and yes, "Russian" is right in the title. Sue me. It's a bold but fun drink and that's how I feel.
Neal Conan - Another aural pleasure full of all kinds of hidden tastes, like a fine Merlot. I'm thinking J. Lohr circa 1997.
Renee Montagne - Renee is the usual host of Morning Edition and she's got a lovely voice. It's almost the richness of Linda, but not quite. I almost wanted to say she's like a 12 year old Macallan, but she's better than that and, while she's not quite as perfect as Linda, she's great in her own way. Perhaps a Glenlivet 18.
Steve Innskeep - I hate Steve Innskeep. He's bad for NPR and he's bad for my disposition. Like I said, I enjoy picking out the subtleties in the dialogue from the majority of NPR reports. Instead, Steve just wants to bash me on the head with his liberal hammer. His hatred of conservatives comes through whenever he talks politics. I think the only reason he is tolerated is because of the Keith Olbermann effect. I often wonder if Steve has a Keith-shrine in his basement. That said, when he's not talking politics, he's got a wonderful voice. Despite my love for the drink and my hatred for Steve, I still think he's a good Cabernet Sauvignon.
Diane Rehm - I'm a little embarrassed to say that her voice turns me off. She has struggled with the same affliction as Scott Adams (spasmodic dysphonia), and it comes through as almost a Parkinsonian warble when she talks. Her subject matter is always good - I just can't listen. Many people can and so I'm equating her with Anisette. To me it tastes like black licorice, which I dislike, but many people love it and good for them.
Dan Shore - Strangely, I didn't see him listed on the NPR personalities page. It doesn't get more senior than Dan. He was there, man! He voice has a richness of experience that you must respect, even if you disagree. A rare treat, I feel he is Johnny Walker Blue.
There are others I wanted to talk about including Bob Edwards, Corey Flintoff, Juan Williams, Ann Taylor, Michele Norris and my all time favorite Terry Gross, but I have to get back to my patients. Feel free to add any in the comments section.