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Dawn Of A New Day


Looks even better from a bike. hide caption

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There's a certain Zen to the pre-dawn commute. Empty streets, birds chirping, a sense of victory at having beat the masses.

I'm a lifelong New Yorker (translation: jaded curmudgeon) but in these early-morning moments, the city often wins me back.

A shorter BPP means a later start time. I got to leave my house when it was light out and rode my bike up the spine of Sixth Avenue, past the sites of chance encounters and old jobs.

Manhattan's in constant upheaval and today I got a heavy dose of nostalgia.

The former site of the Moondance Diner is a construction site, soon to be condos. The Chelsea neighborhood where I had my first full-time job as an outreach worker with the local homeless population, now has fewer vagrants and a lot less sky. It's been in transition for over a decade, but I'm still not quite used to the wall of buildings that replaced the weekend flea markets-cum-parking lots.

But all the changes aren't bad.

In 1990, when I worked at the Pier 1 across from the main library around the corner from here, Bryant Park was an eyesore and a scary place, even in the day time. I have a soft spot for the grimy, higher-crime days of New York, before the city was overrun with Starbucks, Duane Reade and Sephora stores, but I gotta admit, Bryant Park, with its lawn closings, photo permit regulations and chichi eatery, is an oasis and a jewel.

It's great to plunk down on the grass, glance past the new green building going up across the street and focus on the sky. And the great New York sport of people watching. Once day after work, some strangers let me try out their professional-weight hula hoop. It was great to get the all-day-at-the-keyboard kinks out — and to shake and shimmy in full view of Midtown.



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This may be answered in the show which I have yet to listen to, but why is the show only an hour now? Couldn't NPR not mess with the show? There's only two weeks left. Unless this is some awesome BPP demonstration that you can cut costs by permanently shortening it to an hour :D I'm not in denial anymore but I won't reach acceptance until the 28th if the BPP doesn't air. :: nod ::

Sent by Sarah Lee @faerirose | 11:03 AM | 7-15-2008

@Sarah Lee: "This may be answered in the show which I have yet to listen to, but why is the show only an hour now?"

I can't find the second hour either.

I've just realized that not only do I have to come to terms with loosing the BPP, but I have to come to terms with most likely loosing the cool people that hang out in the blog. Bye, Sarah Lee.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 12:29 PM | 7-15-2008

Later Dave Wiley :( Do you have twitter or a livejournal account?

Sent by Sarah Lee @faerirose | 1:01 PM | 7-15-2008

@Dave Wiley, I may not be one of the "cool people," but the BPP's been a important part of my day, because, as you may know, coding computers can be a grind. I've enjoyed the exchanges on the blog.

A lot of times blogs generate more heat than light, but the BPP switched that around for me. I twitter (thanks to the BPP), so please tweet me.

Sent by Matthew C. Scallon @mattsteady | 1:21 PM | 7-15-2008

Hi folks..this is Michel Martin at Tell Me More..sorry to bust in on your blog but I wanted to express my own sadness about losing Bryant Park (old and new friends on the show, we've been cheering you on from the beginning because we know how hard startups are!) AND to correct one bit of misinformation posted here in the comment thread. First, hats off to BPP. I've been in this business long enough to have been cancelled and also to have felt the bullet whizzing by my ear. No other way to say it: it sucks. But if you got the chance to work with cool people, then you are ahead of the game. think about how many people get up in the morning and never get the chance to create something or do exactly what they want to do. you guys have had that chance, and that experience is never wasted.
Second, one blogger wrote that my show " gets some of its funding from a foundation for diversity in broadcasting." I am not sure where that blogger ( who also posts on my site--I didn't know he was two-timing!) got his information but it's not correct. A very small part of NPR's grant from the Ford Foundation goes to diversity programming. and that money is amortized across several shows. we also won a competitive grant from the CPB, which essentially reimbursed NPR for our startup costs, which were of course funded by NPR along with BPP's. What the writer may be referring to is that we started with a core group of stations who were committed to carrying us because they wanted the kind of programming we are doing, but we have since added many more. That probably did and does help. But you cannot sneeze at the presence BPP created for itself online. that is an accomplishment of which everybody at NPR should be proud. As to the one or two haters I saw, I am not sure why you feel you have to hate one thing to prefer something else..but I don't. If you've never listened to our show, we hope some of you will check us out, not because we do the same thing as BPP, because BPP cannot be replaced, but because we are also trying to lift up voices you aren't hearing elsewhere. BPP will live again...and your spirit will infuse whatever else you do next. Awesomeness never dies....cheers, Michel Martin

Sent by Michel Martin | 1:35 PM | 7-15-2008

Off topic, but related to previous posts:
"Because Dave Wiley would want it that way." I laughed out loud when Mike said that.

@Matthew Scallon While I rarely (okay never) shared the political opinions you've expressed here, I still liked that you were here participating. One more thing to miss about the BPP's online presence - grownups could disagree here without the conversation descending into meanness. 99% of the time anyway.

Sent by Maura | 1:35 PM | 7-15-2008

@Sarah Lee: "Do you have twitter or a livejournal account?"

I haven't tweeted or journaled yet, but I do maintain a couple of websites. This is my personal one. The "contact" button always works.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 1:39 PM | 7-15-2008

@Matthew C. Scallon "While I rarely (okay never) shared the political opinions you've expressed here, I still liked that you were here participating."

Ditto and likewise. I think the first post I read of yours was a joke containing an unfortunate use of the word "sows", but it got much better after that. :-) You are one of the cool things about this blog. Conversations where everyone agrees are boring. I liked the fact that you and others could express your arguments in a civil and intelligent way that would not infrequently cause me to rethink my position. I also like that fact that this blog was free of the "LOL", and "you're a moron", and "up with Ron Paul" posts that crud up most other forums. I'm not sure if it is to the BPP demographic or the calming influence of Laura Conaway or some combination of the two, but whatever the magic was it worked.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 2:02 PM | 7-15-2008


As one of the "haters" you mention, I feel I should explain my position on your show, which I often hear because my standard listening pattern on NPR was to catch the second hour of the BPP at 8 Eastern and the first hour during the west coast rebroadcast. My complaint about your show is just that for the most part, I find it has the same problems I have with most of NPR's morning/afternoon shows: it just feels very stodgy, middle of the road, tightly-scripted and uninvolving. The only exception to this is Friday's "Babershop" segment, which I absolutely love, and if the rest of the show had that same sense of digressive, conversational back-and-forth, I'd be much more of a fan.

Do you remember what Talk of the Nation used to be like back in the day? It was a proper call-in show, where the focus was on not just the guest, but also the listeners' interaction with the guest. Now the calls are cut to a minimum and most of the show is just Neal Conan and the guest talking between themselves. And I just feel like I can get that ANYWHERE, you know? Public radio is paved with shows like that, and none of them are as good as Fresh Air, so why make more of them? And that's very much was the BPP was not, and that's why losing it means NPR is losing something vital and, in the long run, important. This was a show that was very much not The Same Old NPR Thing, whereas I think Tell Me More is much more in the classic NPR mode in its style if not its content. And as I've said many times elsewhere, that's just a style that's stopped speaking to me over the years.

So I'm sorry I insulted your show. But if it helps, I regularly say far, far worse things about Day To Day.

Sent by Stewart | 2:03 PM | 7-15-2008

@Michel Martin, I am starting to feel like a perp on "Cheaters." I didn't know we had an exclusive relationship, TMM. You know I still blog you :-).

Thanks for the correction. I misunderstood the underwriting message. That didn't intend to dis TMM; I was trying to find an explanation for why TMM is staying on but the BPP isn't. For the record, I'm not a hater.

@Dave Wiley, pops for the on-air shout-out. Sure beats my one time, a moment I'd rather not relive.

@Maura, why, thank you. I'll miss you, too. As I wrote to someone else, given enough time, you'd find many things we agree on. Then again, agreement can be so boring ;-).

@BPP 'Ohana, if you want, give me a tweet. I'll be putting a new picture of my son on my twitter account every week.

Sent by Matthew C. Scallon @mattsteady | 2:06 PM | 7-15-2008

:: nods ::

This is a great discussion :)
Matthew Scallon, if you don't mind I'll start to follow you on twitter. There's a difference, for me at least, between common interests and common beliefs. We certainly don't have common beliefs (I'm often flabbergasted at some of the things you've commented as I'm sure you've been equally puzzled by some of my things) but that we both love the BPP shows an inclination toward common interests.

Dave Wiley - I've been thinking of getting some of my old college gaming friends who twitter (and those who don't I'll make them twitter) and I'll see if we can have a successful one-shot DnD game via twitter. I'll let you know how that works out. Then you can have some way of gaming without it taking tons of time and taking you out of your home. Gone are the days of long-winded noble DnD speeches!

Maura - do you have a twitter or livejournal account?

Sent by Sarah Lee @faerirose | 2:26 PM | 7-15-2008

@ Sarah Lee - I didn't have a twitter account until 30 seconds ago. Later on, when I figure out how to start following people, all you BPP commenters will be on my list!

Sent by Maura @m_a_u_r_a | 2:49 PM | 7-15-2008

Maura- Awesome :D when you look up someone's name, under their picture icon it'll say "Follow" and you just click it.

Sent by Sarah Lee @faerirose | 3:02 PM | 7-15-2008

Sarah and others may be moving from denial to acceptance, but I'm happy to stay firmly planted in anger.

Sent by Sleestax | 3:10 PM | 7-15-2008

I just have to respond to Michel and also to a comment Mike Pesca made on the air Monday along the lines of this being "another cancellation", and cancellations just being one of those sucky things that happen in media sometimes.

I think where our anger is coming from is not just that a show we loved was cancelled. It's also that NPR seems to be saying through this cancellation that they have no interest in supplying content geared to our age group, mixing old and new media, etc., and have no plans to deal with the issue of how listeners/viewers/users can support content that transcends the old member-station-carriage model.

NPR didn't give any warning, they didn't make any attempt to reach out to those of us who had told NPR that we wanted to support the BPP any way we can, they just killed it (and then even took away 9 of our last 18 hours by shortening the program). I'll bet if they had slapped a "Donate Now" button the site, and mentioned on the program that NPR was in doubts about the viability of the program, they would have raised a few hundred grand in a week.

From this cancellation, I'm hearing the message, "NPR is happy with the audience it has, and we were willing to try this little experiment so long as it worked within our old model, but it doesn't, so all you Internet kids can run along now." If that's not the message NPR is trying to send, then they need to explain exactly what new projects for us they're preparing, how they're changing the funding models, etc. This is not just a cancellation of another show, it's the killing of an entirely new model hybrid of radio and new media.

Sent by Trey (treyethan on twitter) | 5:20 PM | 7-15-2008

I feel like NPR might be shooting themselves in the foot. You would think that they would be trying to hook younger listeners now so that they grow with public media and continue to support it through the years. However, with moves like this, I feel like NPR is trying to alienate the younger audience by doing away with a fresh voice and perspective on the news and culture and keep stodgy, even distanced, voices and programming around.

This may be showing my age (24), but I feel that same wave of sadness at this cancellation as I did when they canned Freaks and Geeks and Arrested Development: a new voice and perspective in a media that seems to be stuck, and while the audience loved it and got it, the powers that be just couldn't handle it.

Sent by Sarah (I don't have twitter... yet) | 5:44 PM | 7-15-2008

Angry and sad, sad and angry. I feel like I've given NPR nothing but love, joined a new NPR station every time I've moved, just to find out that I don't seem to be a part of their demographic (under 30 and interested in the news! How shocking). Where am I supposed to go, NPR? What am I supposed to do with my ears and my iPhone now?
It's wonderful you all have come to know and respect each other on this blog-- though I've visited often, I haven't been much of a participant. I wish you all the best, let's enjoy the rest of our time with the show.

Sent by Kelly | 8:31 PM | 7-15-2008

don't go, ok??? we like the way you help us awaken!

Sent by manhattanite | 10:32 PM | 7-16-2008