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July 25, 2003  

Todd-ie Boy

No more Todd Mundt Show; brunchtime just got a little bit duller on UoM Radio. And that's saying a bit, because the show could be pretty... dull.

Sometimes it was Todd -- computer news was dominated by Wintel franchises; nothing about Macs, little about linux... just Windows stuff. Sometimes Todd channeled an Iowa Boy Scout ("I mean, would a large American corporation really do something like that?"); at other times he seemed to try too hard. But there weren't too many clinkers; only a handful in the last three years.

Usually, if a show went bad, it was from bad guest-age. Scientists who couldn't say, "Yes," without eating up 45 seconds of air time were always a favorite (and still are on Science Friday ;-). The "well-coordinated" guest -- frquent on Todd's show -- was also a treat. These folks are well-prepared, well-spoken, and will always interject at some point, "Oh, that's a good question." After a while, you could sense a well-coordinated guest's presence early in the show, and then spend your time waiting for the, "that's a good question," outburst (almost like a drinking game, if you don't mind having only one or two drinks a day ;-).


The book reviews were O.K. After a few installments, what everyone wanted to know more about was things like, "Why the fascination with mysteries?", or, "Or is it a fascination with Lev?" LOL! Lottsa travel segments; some of Todd's best moments of naivte occurred in these spots.

Under intellectual stress, Todd would slip back into an Iowa mode of Good Traditional Values. But when he was comfortable with the show/guest/topic, he was willing to accept some "pretty far out" stuff. Guest selection was always intriguing, even if the guest was a dud. I hope the staff at Michigan Radio has work to do now that TTMS is shut down....

And this all got me remembering long ago to when UoM Radio lost The Noon Show with Fred Heinley. I had grown up (well, come of age) with Ann Arbor's public radio station's format of all classical music, punctuated by Fred at noon. (Or, as devotees of the show would think of it: Fred's noon show bookended by three hours of classical music. ;-)

Fred sounded middle-aged, in both voice and attitude. Fred sounded old enough to have become a bit detached from the world, a touch cynical, slightly jaded.... Fred sounded grown up.

I learned about radio frequency stuff trying to get my VW to pick up The Noon Show from a high school parking lot. As a U of M student, I skipped classes more frequently than I skipped tuning in The Noon Show. I remember building a house to classical music on the truck radio, Fred's voice my noon whistle. I remember the show's last day....

So, while I'm sad to see Todd go, the end of TTMS is more of an echo back to the old noon show. And don't get me wrong; Todd's show was always well-produced, and usually quite engaging -- I'll miss it.

But even more I'll miss being younger; growing up; listening to The Noon Show.