Well, it’s only day one of NPR’s new morning show, The Takeaway, but I’m distinctly underwhelmed. According to coverage in both the Sunday Times and the Journal the new show is an alternative to Morning Edition in major markets like New York and Boston that’s supposed to feel fresher, using live co-anchors. Well, it felt like amateur hour today.
The Takeaway debuted at 6AM in New York with dead air. Former Morning Edition host Bob Edwards, himself booted in a youth movement, was supposed to intro, but WNYC botched the feed. The co-anchors don’t have any chemistry or rhythm yet and constantly talk over each other. An interview with an ambassador from Zimbabwe — these things can always be risky — not only produced the standard non-answers, but the ambassador nipped back at the interviewer and made him look as overmatched as Lesley Stahl trying to smile through her sparring match with Justice Scalia last night on 60 Minutes. Much ballyhooed “interactivity” — it used to be called talk radio, but no listeners were actually on the air — sponsored maybe 5 responses during the 6AM hour.
I’m left with my usual attitude towards live news: it’s way less efficient at delivering the goods than properly edited programming. Case in point, the local 1-sentence weather update on The Takeaway was “temperature, raining,” while it was “temperature, raining, and forecast high temperature” on Morning Edition. Which is semi-live, anyway. I’ll give it a week, but if things don’t look up, I’m switching over to WNYC AM, where Morning Edition is still on at 6.