"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Why I should replace Charity Nebbe on Michigan Radio

If you have ever had a favorite radio station, you will understand what I am about to say. For over two years I have been a daily listener of Michigan Radio. During that time, I have come to rely on several program hosts, even drawing comfort from the familiarity of their voices. One of my favorite on-air hosts is Charity Nebbe. She does the local segments of NPR’s All Things Considered.

Every weekday evening, Charity takes world-weary commuters like me through a stimulating mix of news, interviews, and attempts by political analyst Jack Lessenberry to make Governor Granholm cry. Charity’s voice, like the program’s content, has a rejuvenating quality. One could call her the Beneficent Muse of the Evening Commute. I won't, because that would be mawkish and tacky. But I digress.

Last week, I learned with great sadness that the Beneficent Mus...excuse me, that Charity Nebbe is leaving Michigan Radio. She has taken a position at a station in Iowa that I will not name. One could call the managers of this Iowa-based radio station rapacious jerks for stealing Charity from us. But I won't because that would be mawkish and tacky.

In any case, as Charity’s departure grows closer, I find myself increasingly fretful about the prospect of learning to trust a new voice during evening drive time. Bear in mind I commute on I-94. Between drivers yapping on cell phones and farmer’s dogs hunting the shoulder for discarded snacks, my drive home is hair-raising. Yet Charity’s calm and erudite reporting style remains an auditory balm against the rush hour anxiety.

This begs the question, “Can anyone replace Charity Nebbe?” It’s like asking, “Can anyone replace Larry King?” Except the answer to that question is “Of course.” But replacing Charity Nebbe? Likely impossible. Still, in lieu of freshly dead air, someone should continue on with the work of inspiring evening commuters. And amidst the dregs of my sorrow I confess smelling a hint of opportunity. So I hereby announce my willingness to replace Charity Nebbe on WUOM 91.7 FM in Ann Arbor.

Instead of providing a standard resume and MP3 samples, I've listed below the 13 most compelling reasons I should be appointed Charity’s successor:

1. As with every other job opening on the planet, my English Degree counts as being “in a related field.”

2. Thanks to occasional part-time work at University of Michigan, I am already set up for Direct Deposit.

3. I have famed NPR broadcaster Carl Kasell’s voice on my home answering machine.

4. After attending volunteer training last year, a station intern recorded me for one of her projects. She said I did “very good.”

5. At 6’2”, sporting a husky build and mama’s boy charm, I would bring a certain hugability to stressful staff meetings.

6. As a Pledge Drive Volunteer, I have a proven track record of only taking one sprinkle donut during my shift. And I hereby call on all other candidates for this position to disclose their Pledge Drive donut intake.

7. When describing my latest “driveway moment” to a staff member of The Environment Report, I can keep a straight face while saying, “Of course I turned my engine off.”

8. When in the studio, I promise never to step on Morning Edition host Christina Shockley’s toes—literally or metaphorically.

9. Over hundreds of listening sessions, I have heard Charity stutter as many as four or five times while reading news copy. So obviously perfection is not a job requirement.

10. With practice, I know I can learn to say “Michigan Radio dot org” in a voice that melts butter.

11. On a recent stroll, I saw several apartments for rent within walking distance of the station. I could raffle off my Staff-Only Parking Spot to U-M students for a fundraiser. I got ideas people!

12. Even with Curtis Granderson gone to the New York Yankees, and now Charity leaving too, I remain committed to the state of Michigan. I certainly wouldn’t leave Michigan for Iowa . . . wait, is Iowa where the Field of Dreams is located? (pauses to google) Hey Charity, can I bum a ride?

13. Finally, seriously and sincerely, like Charity I would drop in and offer thanks and encouragement to the volunteers during Pledge Drives. This I believe is one of many reasons Michigan Radio members are posting scores of farewell messages to Charity online. She is a true friend to the station, its members and the cause of responsible journalism. I wish her well. And now, coming up next on All Things Considered...


  1. I think you should get an interview. Let me know if you need a reference. :)

    Thank you!

  2. I'd interview you. But I got no clout and I live in Sacramento.

  3. I'm Charity's mom and I really like you! You're so right on. . . . I agree with all your endearing comments about my daughter. I also am thrilled she is moving back to Iowa!!

    Charity's Mom

  4. You're welcome, Charity. And thanks each of you for the positive feedback. Best wishes for a safe and worthwhile Memorial Day Weekend.

  5. This was Hi-Larious! The donut thing was great, even had my husband laughing.