I’m an NPR fanatic. I’m a book lover, former bookseller and used to commute hundreds of miles a week. It was inevitable. When I started driving a lot someone suggested listening to an audio book. This was the era of Nokia 3210s and iPods were just gaining popularity. As a reader it sort of went against my nature to ‘listen’ to a book, it felt like cheating. When I mentioned this, ‘Well you’re not going to listen to the unabridged version silly.’ No, uh-of course not. Quickly, my ear tuned in to the world of audio books. It’s a delight if you spend many hours in a car or if you just enjoy storytelling. The key is the actor reading the book. Some are naturals. Ken Howard narrated Nelson DeMille’s Up Country and I swear it was like going to the movies. One afternoon as I was driving between locations for work I turned on NPR and caught The Brian Lehrer show.
NPR has actually coined a term for that moment when you must sit in the car to hear a segment end. Sometimes it’s because you are laughing so shard you have to collect yourself. This happened when I discovered David Sedaris years ago (his books had the same effect. I’d laugh so hard people would move away from me on the subway. Trying to calm down only made it worse.) It’s called a Driveway Moment…For those of you that are already fully entrenched in the NPR world, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. More than likely you’ve fallen victim.
What is a Driveway MomentSM?
Maybe it’s happened to you as it has to countless others…
You’re driving home, listening to a story on NPR. Suddenly, you find yourself in your driveway (or parking space or parking garage). Rather than turn the radio off, you stay in your car to hear the piece to the end. It’s a Driveway Moment. (from NPR.org)
Radiolab takes a particular topic and researches it in ways you never could have imagined. The sound effects and editing make this show a treat for your ears. Once the show ends I’m always astounded at what I’ve learned and for some who loves to suck information up like a Hoover™, that’s quite a feat. If you love to dive deep into a specific subject this is the show for you.
Every voice matters. That’s the motto of StoryCorps. StoryCorps is a project that encourages people to record the stories of friends and family. These recordings are then documented and logged by the Library of Congress. Weekly, the show’s producers play a story. You laugh, you cry, you sit on the edge of your seat as everyday Americans share what makes them who they are. The best way to find out more is to listen. Check out
I don’t have satellite radio in my car. This is a good thing. I would find places to drive so I could listen to each and every story of every NPR channel. But I can just turn on the surround sound at home you may be thinking and listen to my hearts content. I do sometimes. But there is something about driving and having the car filled with the sound of a story. My mind always makes connections with the words I’m hearing and my environment. Driving home on a rainy night seems a little more omnious (and movie theater thrilling) when you listen to Robert and Jad talk about the nature of being bad. And on the other side of that I swear the sun got brigher when I heard Ann Druyan tell the story of when she fell in love with the legendary Carl Sagan (because it isn’t just enough that he opened our eyes to the universe, he was a romantic too). With radio we have to use our own imagination to see the whole story. Maybe it’s the dreamer in me. Imagination leads to inspiration and in the end, isn’t that what it is all about?
Do you love NPR, satellite radio or audio books? How else to your entertains your ears other than music? Tell us in the comments section!