28 February 2016

Geeking Out: NPR at Smokey Row

 If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you probably know that I'm a huge fan of NPR. If I'm home or in the car, it's a good bet that I'm listening to NPR. Lucky for me, Spouse has a cousin who works behind the scenes for NPR in Washington, and we've even taken a tour of the facilities. That was kind of one of the most exciting days of my life. :)

Being in Iowa during an election cycle, we had a lot of media attention leading up to the caucuses. Imagine my excitement when I learned that NPR's Morning Edition (one of my favorite NPR programs) would be broadcasting LIVE from one of our favorite local coffee shops on caucus day! 

The only downside was that the doors opened at 4 AM, which is crazy early in my book. I finally summoned up the courage to go (I knew I'd regret it if I didn't) but I couldn't quite make myself get up early enough to arrive when the doors opened, so I decided to head over an hour or so later. To my surprise, Spouse decided to go along. He's not an NPR fan but (I reminded him that) he likes Smokey Row's coffee and enjoys seeing the workings of radio programs. And yes, there was a tiny bit of arm-twisting involved. :)

As a night-owl, I never do anything at this hour of the morning, so I was somewhat surprised that the place was already quite crowded. Clearly there are a lot of early morning people (and NPR fans) in our area. And I could tell right away (even though my eyes were not completely open yet) that these were my peeps! But if they're only out and about at that crazy hour, I'll probably never see my peeps again!

They used a small meeting room off to the side as the "studio" and inside, I could see that they had set up 20 or so chairs for a studio audience. Eventually they adjusted the audio so you could hear the broadcast throughout the coffee shop, even if you weren't anywhere close to the room.

There were lots of media people covering the media!

 After we got our coffee (which NPR subsidized!), I made my way to the back of the coffee shop near the restroom. That was not a popular place to stand, so I had a perfect view of the program through the window! And during the broadcast, I served as the door-opener to the women's restroom. Not a bad sacrifice!

 Host David Greene interviewed several people involved in politics while we were there, which was interesting to observe. A couple of candidates also stopped by after we left.

From my prime viewing spot, I tried to peer in the window (without looking like too much of a geek) to see the screens and controls. Not that I have any idea what's going on, but it was still fascinating to see! I later learned that the small group of listeners in the studio (those brave souls who arrived at 4 AM!) were actually treated to an overview of how the show is put together. Holy cow...that could have been too much for me at that hour of the morning. It was probably better for me to just look through the window. :)

Then things got even more exciting: I discovered that I was stationed right next to a Rubbermaid tub of NPR buttons! The producers were scattering them about on the tables and invited us to help ourselves. People would stop by nonchalantly and pick up a few of their favorites. Even though they didn't show it, I knew they were geeking out on the inside!

Why, thank you, Morning Edition! I'll take one of each!

 In spite of getting up at a ridiculously early hour, we both had a fun time that morning. And when we got back home, the day was still quite young! It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you wake up at 4:30 in the morning! :)

Now each time I listen to Morning Edition, I think about that crazy early morning at Smokey Row. A presidential election, caramel lattes and NPR: It just doesn't get much better than that!

1 comment:

Kimberly Marie said...

How fun!! Glad you had a great time. Yes, I'm always amazed at just how much more time there seems to be in a day when you wake up extra early!