To say that I’m a National Public Radio fan would be an understatement. I’m addicted. An NPR junkie. Had my car radio come with just one station, I wouldn’t have noticed, as along as it was WHYY-FM, since that’s the only station I ever listen to.
How did this come about? Decades ago, living in Bangor, Maine, I got hooked on “Fresh Air“ when the local NPR affiliate began airing the show. I loved it so much, in fact, that during one pledge drive I actually subscribed to WHYY-FM (in addition to my Bangor affiliate) because Terry came on and asked me to.
For years, I’m pretty sure that I was the only person in Bangor, Maine who was a member of Philly’s NPR station.
“Fresh Air” was one of the many reasons I was happy to relocate to Philadelphia back in 1988. Some may think of Philly as the home of the Eagles. Or of the only place where you can get real Cheese steak. For me, it’s the home turf of Terry Gross.
So when an NPR intern recently got in touch to say that Jennifer Lynn, the local host of “Morning Edition,” wanted to interview me about my new book, I was thrilled. I was familiar with Lynn’s work, of course; she’d recently conducted a terrific interview with former President Jimmy Carter.
Because OUR BODIES. OUR SHELVES, is a collection of humorous essays for book lovers, the intern suggested that we hold the interview at the suburban library where I work.
What did I do to prepare? I went online to listen to a few of Lynn’s interviews that I’d missed. And I started following her on Twitter.
On the morning our interview was to take place, Jennifer Lynn ran over a street lamp on the Vine Street Expressway. I read about it on her Twitter feed. She sounded shaken up, but unhurt. “What a terrific way to prepare for talking with me!” I joked on my Facebook page.
Then the phone rang. It was Jennifer. “We need to reschedule,” she said. “I ran over a street lamp.”
“I know,” I said, feeling like a stalker. “Are you okay?”
She was, but she needed to take her car to the shop. Plus, she’d encountered a technical glitch trying to download OUR BODIES, OUR SHELVES and she actually wanted to read it before we spoke.
She gets points for that. I am often interviewed by people who haven’t bothered to read my book. It’s an interesting experience. You can say anything! I’m tempted to tell them outlandish stories, just because I can. Especially if it’s a live interview and thus can’t be edited.
“I used to date Benedict Cumberbatch! Absolutely. And we once enjoyed a three-way with David Tennant. It’s all in my book.”
Did it bother me that my interview had been postponed at the very last minute? Not at all.
When it comes to media interviews, being rescheduled is just part of the process. Two years ago, I appeared on the “Today Show.” But before I did, my segment was rescheduled — five times. Because it focused on a New York Times essay I’d written upon turning 60, it wasn’t in the least bit time sensitive, so I kept getting bumped when real news took place. I got bumped, for instance, by the birth of the Royal Baby.
A Royal Baby. A Collision with A Street Lamp. That’s show business!
The important thing is that I finally did make it onto the “Today Show,” where I met my goal, which was not to die of fright on live TV in front of five million people.
I trust that I’ll make it onto “Morning Edition” as well. Am I nervous? Not at all. Jennifer Lynn is good. And if I say anything too stupid (or falsely claim to have an intimate relationship with an adorable TV star) she’ll edit it out.
And it’s radio, so I don’t even have to get my hair done.
The best thing? Everybody I know listens to NPR. When it airs, I imagine people all over the Delaware Valley driving along in their cars, exclaiming “Wait a minute! That’s Roz! What on earth is Roz doing on the radio?”
With any luck, the shock of it won’t cause any of them to crash into anything on the Vine Street Expressway. In the meantime? I look forward to talking with you, Jennifer Lynn. And please drive carefully.