Many years ago, I listened to the radio every weekday morning: classical programming on the Santa Cruz public radio station KUSP. Each day specialized in a different sort of music, progressing from early through baroque to contemporary, or at least modern; it was pleasingly eclectic: not your Pachelbel Canon and 2nd movement of Beethoven's Seventh, but unusual, interesting pieces, and whole multi-movement works. Nine a.m. to noon. It was the perfect accompaniment to work.
But then they switched their classical programming to the evening, and the mornings became talk. Not so conducive to work. I stopped listening to radio as much, and to music almost entirely.
Now when I listen to the radio, it's almost always in the car while I'm driving. Still NPR, but a more local station: 90.3 KAZU. I also very occasionally listen to KPIG, 107-oink-5, out of Freedom, California, when I'm in the mood for some upbeat, down-home music.
KAZU is mainly about talk. My favorite shows are Fresh Air from WYYY—Terry Gross is such an intelligent interviewer, and she has interesting guests; Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! on the weekend always makes me laugh; The Splendid Table—Lynne Rossetto Kasper's enthusiasm for all things culinary is positively infectious; This American Life. I always enjoy hearing Ari Shapiro on All Things Considered (as well as in Pink Martini, but that's another story) and Robin Young on Here and Now. The Diane Rehm Show and On Point's Tom Ashbrook I can listen to in small doses, but I quickly grow weary of news analysis, and her querulous and his blustery tone can wear me down. But yes, in small doses, it's good to hear what's going on in the world (one slant of it, anyway). I even very much enjoy Marketplace, although I'm not especially into money or the economy—but Kai Ryssdal finds really interesting things to talk about, and I enjoy his breezy manner.
This evening on my way home from a meeting, I tuned in to what turned out to be This American Life. It was a story about a guy who headed up a maintenance department in the Schenectady school district and became a petty tyrant and a bully. Apparently the man is now in prison. It was not an uplifting story.
One nice thing about the radio is, you can turn it off. I turned off the bully. Sometimes peace and quiet is the best way to go.