The Best Song in the World Today

Two faithful public radio listeners — Matthew Trisler and his girlfriend, Kerry Crawford — started a blog called Radio-Sweethearts.com. It all began when they suspected a host on an NPR show was sweet on his co-host.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Here it is. Special music.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Yep. Web editor Laura Conaway has snuck into the studio to tell us what's happening on the blog. Laura.

LAURA CONAWAY: Good morning.

STEWART: Radio-sweethearts? Do tell.

CONAWAY: Yeah. Radio-sweethearts. Well, one of the things that gets to happen in my job that I really like is I end up meeting a lot of listeners. And some of the listeners I've been getting to know lately are these people who run a new website called Radio-Sweethearts. I just linked through to it on our blog. It started out with the idea that one NPR host is kind of sweet on another.

MARTIN: That's not Alison and me, although we are sweet.

STEWART: She's good looking.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAWAY: Anyway, this is Matthew Trisler. I'll let him tell it. Trisler. He's one-half of Radio-Sweethearts.

Mr. MATTHEW TRISLER (Radio-Sweethearts.com): We were talking about "On the Media," one night, and definitely thought it was pretty clear to us that Bob Garfield has a huge crush on Brooke Gladstone.

STEWART: Public radio nerds.

CONAWAY: There you go. Right? You guys know the show "On the Media," right?

STEWART: Yeah. Listen every week.

CONAWAY: One hour, once a week. The sausage of media. How it gets made. Here's a taste of Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield.

(Soundbite of radio show "On the Media")

Ms. BROOKE GLADSTONE (Host, "On the Media"): From WNYC in New York, this is NPR's On the Media. I'm Brooke Gladstone.

Mr. BOB GARFIELD (Host, "On the Media"): And I'm Bob Garfield.

CONAWAY: Crush?

STEWART: Well, how he said it right there did make me think he kind of likes here.

CONAWAY: You hear the crush? Let's try it.

STEWART: And I'm Bob Garfield.

CONAWAY: Just try it one more time.

Ms. GLADSTONE: I'm Brooke Gladstone.

Mr. GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAWAY: I think crush.

STEWART: A little bit. A little bit.

CONAWAY: Yeah. So, the question is, you know, does he have this crush? And in December, Matthew Trisler and his girlfriend Kerry Crawford took this question where you take a question like that these days. They started a blog called Radio-Sweethearts, and they just followed on the media. And what you have to know about Matthew and Kerry is that they live apart. She's in Memphis. She just took a job there at The Commercial Appeal, in the web department, doing classifieds. He's still in school at Ball State back in Muncie, Indiana. But they get together as much as they can. And they work together on this blog long-distance. Matthew was at Kerry's place last month when this miracle happened. Here's Kerry.

Ms. KERRY CRAWFORD (Radio-Sweethearts.com): We were just kind of sitting around. And all of a sudden he's this, like, really panicky look on his face, and it's like, Kerry! I thought he broke something. I look over, and he's pointing at his computer and there's an email, like a comment, on one of our recaps, from Bob Garfield. We immediately started kind of panicking. There was lots of pointing at the computer and looking at each other and pointing at his computer and making high-pitched squeaking noises. And then we figured it had to be somebody messing with us.

MARTIN: I think it's really Bob Garfield.

CONAWAY: Maybe.

STEWART: What did he say?

CONAWAY: He wrote to explain why Brooke Gladstone had been out. She'd been, well, you'll have to - I'll link through to her.

STEWART: OK. OK.

CONAWAY: Anyway, so that's (unintelligible) about this. They started - they had a little conversation with Bob, but they're too star struck to ask him if he actually does have a crush on Brooke Gladstone. So I asked Bob Garfield. And first of all, he pointed out that Radio-Sweethearts has about 20 or 30 readers. Thank you. And then he told me, "My relationship with Brooke is the love that dare not speak its name." So, whatever that means.

MARTIN: Oh. That's very cryptic.

CONAWAY: I think what the Radio-Sweethearts is, for them, it's not just that one show. Kerry says they basically have this kind of fan fiction for all kinds of different NPR personalities, like Carl Kasell.

Ms. CRAWFORD: Carl Kasell is like Hugh Hefner.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CRAWFORD: He walks around in a smoking jacket all the time followed by a bevy of, you know, Public Radio hotties. He's always reading the news from his, like, barko lounger.

CONAWAY: Ira Glass gets a back-story.

Ms. CRAWFORD: Ira Glass is really shy and, like, kind of sits around. Terry Gross has a huge crush on Ira Glass.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CRAWFORD: She always flirts with him, and he has no idea.

STEWART: So, oh, now I'm scared.

MARTIN: Oh my gosh. I love it.

CONAWAY: I asked them about, you know, Alison Stewart.

STEWART: Oh no.

Ms. CRAWFORD: She was the fun one. She's the one that you would want to hang out with at a party. She's the one who would be, like, hey, I've got a bunch of toilet paper in my car. Let's go roll the neighbors.

CONAWAY: Rachel Martin.

Ms. CRAWFORD: She's the one with the eggs. See, you guys are the whole, or like the group of kids in high school that were always getting into trouble and blaming it on other people. You guys are kind of like the website I worked for in college. Always doing something that's getting busted by the, you know, the journalism department.

MARTIN: That's hilarious.

STEWART: How'd she know about the toilet paper in my Honda?

CONAWAY: Well, you know, and these guys are super helpful to us. They send us a picture from Memphis once. Matthew actually has the best song in the world today. He wants to be part of the show. He's getting ready to graduate from Ball State. And he kind of took the long route. I'll let him tell you.

Mr. TRISLER: Well, we're going into the last month of, like, my senior, my final senior year. I've had three, so far. So, yes. It's taken me forever to graduate. And finally, like, looking at a natural graduation date is kind of overwhelming, and kind of fills me with a little bit of existential dread, I guess. You keep hearing about the economy's going into a slump, and I'm worried that I'm not going to be able to find a job, or that - I'm in an English major, so what am I going to find a job in? If I could find a job - If I can find a job, excuse me.

CONAWAY: So Matthew is a writer. And it's what suits him. It's what he's born to do. Just listen to him take apart his best song.

Mr. TRISLER: It opens with, "Years ago, my heart was set to live." It's such a simple statement that, like, I was ready to start life years ago. And something came up and it hasn't come yet. The bridge is "I've been built up and trusted, broke down and busted, but they'll get theirs and we'll get ours if we can just hold on."

CONAWAY: So, I think he's holding on. And meanwhile.

Mr. TRISLER: My name is Matthew Trisler. And my best song in the world today is "The Ballad of El Goodo" by the band Big Star.

(Soundbite of song "The Ballad of El Goodo")

BIG STAR: (Singing)Years ago my heart was set to live on. And I've been tryin hard against unbelievable odds. Gets so hard at times like now to hold on. Guns they wait to be stuck by. And at my side is God. Ain't no one goin to turn me round. Ain't no one goin to turn me round.

MARTIN: That was Big Star's "The Battle of El Goodo," from 1972. And that's the best song in the world, according to Matthew. Laura Conaway edits our website and our blog at npr.org/bryantpark. Thanks, Laura. We'll link through to Matthew Trisler and Kerry Crawford's blog, Radio-Sweethearts.

STEWART: That's it for this hour, the Bryant Park Project. Thanks for listening. I'm Alison Stewart. That's Rachel Martin. We're online at npr.org.

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