The NPR Music interns take one last stand against their despotic employers.
The NPR Music interns take one last stand against their despotic employers. iStockphoto
Make your way through the halls of NPR's fifth floor, and you'll eventually find yourself in a triangular oasis of music and arts. This is the lair of an eclectic, sharp-witted, mostly harmless and extremely hardworking group of music curators. But don't let their senses of humor fool you — selecting what to keep and what to can is a contentious, dangerous process.
Each winter, as the South by Southwest music festival approaches, these normally mild-mannered audiophiles bring out their boxing gloves for a series of staff meetings to pick bands for NPR to showcase at the event. Cue the arrival of four innocent interns, each wide-eyed and optimistic, eager to share his or her ideas with the world. We certainly didn't expect to find ourselves entrenched in an epic battle, as the NPR Music staff fought to secure its favorite bands a spot on the bill. Initially hesitant to get caught in the crossfire, we figured it was all we could do to observe the scene as innocent bystanders. But it wasn't long before our inner music geeks took over, compelling us to passionately plug our preferred acts. We spoke out. We fought fervently for our artists. We even tried performing circus tricks. The response? Chirping crickets.
Okay, so maybe it wasn't that dramatic. In fact, the NPR Music team has nurtured us through thick and thin, and fostered nothing but mutually rewarding professional working relationships. But now that our time is almost up, any respect that we've cobbled together over the past few months is effectively moot. At the end of this week, our precious NPR ID cards will be revoked, and the next time we try to enter the building, we'll probably be politely escorted out. On Friday, we'll be hurled into a future of unemployment, untoasted bread and unthawed TV dinners. But before we go, we finally get a chance to speak our minds. After several months spent listening to our bosses pontificate about the bands and songs they love, it's our chance to shine a light on some of the artists we pitched unsuccessfully to our superiors. Although our pleas may have initially fallen on deaf ears, these are songs that we think need to be heard. Step aside, NPR Music team — it's our turn to talk.