Tuesday May 10, 2005

Joseph Cooper

[Contributed by Potato Head]

I see Ed Bell dropped by here yesterday to check the spelling. Okay, then, let’s talk about WLRN [91.3 on FM the radio dial]. I’ve very little experience with public radio outside S. Florida, but WLRN seems to do a decent job. It seems like we should be able to muster a national-caliber show like This American Life, but I guess it’s not meant to be. What we have is Ed’s worthy arts show (where “arts” seems to mean mostly performing arts), and Joseph Cooper’s Tropical Currents.

A local public radio show, Tropical Currents ought to be the most boring of all possible experiences. And Cooper is nobody’s idea of a dynamic radio personality. But. Somehow. It’s magic.

Joseph Cooper is an utterly ordinary, if pretty smart, guy. He seems to make no particular effort to “entertain.” (Actually, these are both just my impressions; it could all be part of the act.) That’s what makes him so riveting on the radio. The Diane Rhem Show has endless intelligent callers; it’s a national show. Joseph has a much smaller pool of callers to deal with, and some real characters (and idiots) get through. He deals with them with delicious, barely disguised, contempt. You can actually hear him sigh on the radio.

Mostly, though, he’s just a regular dude. He cares about the environment. He doesn’t like big business pushing people around. He’s reasonable for miles and miles. But he sounds like a reasonable guy sitting at the next bar stool, not like a reasonable guy on the radio. (Kind of like Tom Snyder.)

[Mp3 downloads of Cooper’s show are available online (nice; most NPR stuff is available in RealAudio only). How about adding an RSS feed for podcasting, WLRN? How about keeping more then four recent shows online for download? And, for the love of sweet Jesus, how about an actual schedule of upcoming shows? Please don’t tell us Joe flies by the seat of his pants??]

comments powered by Disqus
  1. Miami Harold    Tue May 10, 06:03 PM #  

    Hold it. Back up.
    Let’s talk about Diane Rhem for a moment.

    Rem suffers from spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological disorder
    that makes her sound like an octogenarian gargling with glass shards.

    It’s the job of a talk show host to sound good, and she doesn’t.
    What she says may be more important than what she sounds like,
    but both are vital to the quality of the show.
    I don’t care who else appears on the show—she herself is unlistenable.
    Cooper has her beat on that basis alone.

  2. FRC    Wed May 11, 08:00 AM #  

    Joe Cooper has to be the worst radio host I’ve ever heard. In fact, I listen to WLRN throughout the day and make sure to turn the dial when Topical Currents starts.(read: Topical Currants since it seems to always involve food and cackling yentas)

    Joe Cooper is rude to those that call in and he seems disinterested in his guests. Maybe he is an oridinary guy. I would love for him to get an ordinary job, one in which has little interaction with others.