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Troubles You Don't Need

December 29, 2008 | 10 Comments

Post to the Host:
Why isn't the show broadcast on one of the TV cable channels like some other radio shows are? Love the show, would love to watch you in action also (like the movie — which I have seen 5 times).

Beth G.


Thanks for the thought, Beth, but my experience is that when you bring TV into the picture, you are dealing with very intense, nervous people who talk loud, and TV sort of takes over. TV people are still under the illusion that theirs is the dominant broadcast medium. Wherever you have TV and radio operating under one roof, TV is all spread out on the main floor and radio is in the basement. But radio is the medium of people on the move, in cars, on bikes, walking, running, and TV is the medium of people in nursing homes and prisons. Big TV fans in penal institutions: check it out. So here at our little radio show, we think, "Why take on the grief of being shoved around by a bunch of heavies just so we can be seen in Sing Sing?" Life is good. Why take on troubles you don't need?


Dear Garrison,
TV is also, sometimes, the medium
of those without imagination. It
has its place--sometimes.
Listening to APHC, I bet if
we each painted a "picture" of
the goings-on on stage, the
paintings would be very, very
different (much like they would
be if we each "painted" a novel).
I liked the movie also, but
adore the radio show.
Keep up the great entertainment,
San Clemente

"Television: A medium. So called because it's neither rare nor well done."

-Ernie Kovacs

"... Cue the marischino cherry ...
{wheeeeeeee, plop}. Let's see them do that on television"

Apologies to Stan Freberg.

I have proof of your PBS tv show from the 80's. We didn't have a vcr, of course, so I took pictures of the tv screen with my slr camera. I also took pictures in the 60's of the Kennedy/Nixon debates and later of Muhammed Ali/Spinx boxing fight (Ali posed to the camera with his "I'm so pretty" look). The pictures that don't have a line across the middle from the old tv broadcast process are priceless.
Those photos of PHC are wonderful. I had no idea what anyone looked like, and I thrilled at watching you guys in action. It was the first I heard of (or saw) Bobby McFerrin when he did his 10-minute Wizard of Oz. Since then I've seen the show live 5 times.
That short series of great shows must have been a bad experience for you since you never mention it.
Foresthill CA

You could build a credible case on both sides of this issue... On one hand I can imagine what the added confusion having tv production equipment interfering with the usual show hubbub would be. Additionally the image imposed by TV invading my mental picture would take away from the show quality I love. On the other, like 'bob and tom' from indianapolis and the 'you might be a redneck' broadcasts, the production set up appears to be very limited and is in no way a major detraction hence minimizing the effect on production values. I personally would love to see a TV analog to the radio broadcast mirroring the benchmark set by the success of the aphc movie.

Forget TV, have you ever thought about making a movie about your show?

Had my first exposure to A.P.H.C. been via the idiot box, I doubt I would have had much interest. After several years of regular listening to the program I became a financial supporter of Public Radio. I was crushed when I received my first "member pamphlet" from our local station. It was littered with photos taken during A.P.H.C broadcasts! I didn't want to know! It was not what I had imagined! The photos were in no way objectionable, but it was like finding a photo of a novel's heroine on page 427.
I have since recovered and traveled the country to see several shows, have watched the movie (weak), read most of GK's books, and even, reluctantly, watched a television special.
No, television is for the feabile minded and unimaginative. A.P.H.C. does not belong there.

Amen to your position, sir, from personal experience: we'd done three years of a Ring Cycle at the Met that was so spectacular in person and on radio that it "had" to be televised.

The extra lights destroyed imagery for the live audience that depended on painted scrims; they put in a "special" camera to catch a closeup and thereby didn't show the most telling detail in the whole 17 hours; and the crew became so flustered by constant changes that they dropped the Castle Gibichung on Brunnhilde's head.

TC - there is a movie about PHC. It's called A Prairie Home Companion... Robert Altman directed it, and I believe that GK wrote it. It has GK, Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, and Virginia Madsen in it. It came out in 2006.

Radio is the right place for your program! I remember way back, when I would listen to your program while doing my homework; I guess you hadn't been on the air too long at the time (74-75). I liked the show then and I still enjoy listening and picturing in my mind, what is going on. Being from Minnesota originally, I can relate to many of the situations during the Lake Wobegon skits. Here in Oklahoma, I tell other listeners, that many times, the happenings are not too far removed from the truth!
Keep up the good work and don't ruin it by going to TV!

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