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NPR Lite vs. NPR Different

An interesting discussion broke out in the comments section of a recent show post, and I'd like to take a minute to respond. The discussion centers on whether the BPP represents the introduction of "NPR Lite," programming that lacks the depth that NPR listeners have come to expect.

I must say, while I understand how the perception could arise, I disagree with the characterization of the BPP as "NPR Lite." I think of it more as "NPR Different." Shows like Morning Edition, All Things Considered and so many others are phenomenal shows, but we aren't trying to emulate them. We could never do what they do as well as they do it, and we don't see a need to try, since they already do it so well. But that doesn't make what we do (or strive to do) "lite." It just makes it different. (The term "lite" suggests that something has been removed without being replaced by something else, and I don't think that's the case.) Just as I don't think we could do what they do, I also doubt, with all due respect, that they could do what we do (or strive to do).

This discussion is not unlike the debate over whether Chicago-style or New York-style pizza is better. Chicago pizza is thick and dense, full of delicious gobs of glorious cheese and fillings. When you eat one, you plan your night around it, and it rarely disappoints. New York pizza is nimble and flavorful, with a type of crust that leaves a chef little margin for error and a construction that makes it conveniently portable.

But I can tell you, as someone who's lived in both cities, that pizzerias in Chicago don't know a damn thing about making thin crust New York-style pizza, and places in New York don't know a deep dish from a trough. So which style is better? NEITHER. They aren't even the same food. They're both amazingly awesome in their own rights. Just like other NPR shows and the BPP.