Radio: National Public Radio: Beyond Headlines and Haydn

National Public Radio adds some fun -- and even some fluff

In fictional Zenith, George Babbitt brags about boosterism. In Boston, a Tappet brother asks, "Does the transmission go clunk before or after you let in the clutch?" In Paris, Papa Wemba recalls his days as Zaire's most popular folk singer. And in New Orleans, Dr. John bellows the blues from the stage of the Colt 38 Club.

Until recently, people knew pretty much what to expect when they tuned in to National Public Radio: thoughtful and innovative news programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered, with plenty of commercial-free classical music in between. But no longer. Washington-based NPR, which is...

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