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RSS icon Comments on Sarah Vowell Vs. Steve Scher


I thought it was only slightly more awkward than a typical Steve Scher interview.

Posted by Jeffrey | October 13, 2008 11:32 AM

Steve Scher is more responsible than any other KUOW thing (including fund drives) in my banning of 94.9. He's the dullest host i've ever heard. I'd rather listen to traffic noise.

Posted by sanka | October 13, 2008 11:35 AM

I listened to about 5 minutes of it, and yes, she was definitely not motivated to talk to him or even plug her book, best as I could tell.

Posted by listener | October 13, 2008 11:36 AM

when he was talking to nickels today, though, he did hold his feet to the fire just a little bit about the tent city thing, which i thought was just a little journalistic of him, for once.
(by the way, i haven't been paying attention, the protest is to get people to be able to live in tents just anywhere?)

Posted by erin | October 13, 2008 11:44 AM

He's so ridiculous. Completely and utterly ridiculous. And on top of being an unprepared dullard, he is passive aggressive to a fault...needling his guest the mayor this morning by repeating "Nickelsville" over and over (which was, admittedly, kind of funny) and then challenging Sarah Vowell on why she found certain passages in Puritan writing interesting, etc.

Steve Scher is, on the whole, unlistenable. His show is passably acceptable only through the quality of his guests.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 13, 2008 11:44 AM

How many book tour appearances has she made by now? She's had to give exactly the same answers to exactly the same questions a million times in the past couple of weeks. Maybe she's just exhausted, and cranky in the morning.

Posted by Fnarf | October 13, 2008 11:44 AM

From the looks of things, she needs to stop drinking Mr. Burns' nerve tonic.

Posted by Jason Josephes | October 13, 2008 11:51 AM

I heard the interview also. It was just a typical Steve Scher interview where he is totally unprepared. I can't stand his show. He is also one of the reasons I won't pledge to KUOW this year. I am finding the fund drive to be very obnoxious this year. They are speaking to us like we are stupid, appealing to whatever emotion they can to get us to donate. I'd love to see some sort of report that shows how much they really need our money. Would they really go out of business?
Yes, I can change the channel, but they still have the regular decent stuff in between all the crap.

Posted by Sara | October 13, 2008 11:56 AM


Posted by trufe | October 13, 2008 12:02 PM

Steve Scher's incompetence aside, Sarah Vowell can be a total snot.

Posted by Porkchop Sandwiches! | October 13, 2008 12:03 PM

I think listeners need to start issuing ultimatums during pledge drive time: get rid of Scher or no money for you.

Posted by josh | October 13, 2008 12:05 PM

Download the MP3 and skip past the pledge drive crap, to 4:20. No really.

Posted by elenchos | October 13, 2008 12:07 PM

Uh...Steve who? I listened just to hear Sarahs sweet, sweet voice...MAN, she is SO A-dor-a-ble! And SMART. SO HOT!!!

Posted by nipper | October 13, 2008 12:11 PM

The breaking point for me was when they all started saying just the time "eleven thirty" and their names instead of saying "the time is eleven thirty" or "this is steve sher". Totally retarded. Sounds like someone with tourette's doing the time - "ELEVEN THIRY!". That and Jeannie Yandel. My god, does she try to sound like she's twelve? If so, she's successful.
I bypass KUOW completely these days and stream NPR directly on the web. Can I just donate directly to NPR?

Posted by scharrera | October 13, 2008 12:14 PM

Whenever I turn on weekday, Steve Scher is talking about gardening.

Dave Ross on KIRO is way better, even with the Super Savings, Super Selection, Suuuper Supplements commercial every 5 minutes.

Posted by abomb | October 13, 2008 12:25 PM

I saw Vowell on John Stewart. They got a pretty fun conversation going, but Stewart is really good. I was very intrigued and am planning to read some of her stuff soon.

But it was clear in the interview that Vowell is kind of an odd duck, maybe with some kind of interesting mental disorder, perhaps pyschologically incapable of social bullshitting even if she wants to and only capable of having a conversation she is interested in...

Posted by mirror | October 13, 2008 12:26 PM

Thanks to the sign-off Ira Glass used on This American Life for several years, she'll always be "Consigliere Sarah Vowell" to me.

Posted by rob | October 13, 2008 12:27 PM

Granted she can come off as a little odd but there is something sexy about a smart and funny woman.

Posted by Sad Comment | October 13, 2008 12:32 PM

Hmmm, I've always liked Steve Scher. Maybe I need to listen with both ears instead of KUOW being more along the lines of background noise.

Ross whatever-his-name-is at 1pm is the one I can't stand.

I love love love to listen to Sarah Vowell, her voice is like a drug to me. But I think mirror is right, my guess is Asperger's Syndrome at the very least.

Posted by Katy | October 13, 2008 12:33 PM

I re-listened to make sure I was being fair, and the beginning isn't so bad, but it ends on a very sour note. Around the 24:00 minute mark, she's talking about American Indians and he makes a comment referencing her earlier statement about the Cherokee "giving up their gods," and she replies, "You would too if everyone you knew was dead." Yikes.

Posted by Aislinn | October 13, 2008 12:34 PM

Scher was incredibly rude to Daniel Schorr too. He's nuts. And lazy.

Posted by chris | October 13, 2008 12:47 PM

...Sorry? I was listening to my iPod. (And no, Aislinn, it wasn't Michael Bolton. Bite me.)

Posted by Greg | October 13, 2008 12:51 PM

@20, YES. Ross Reynolds makes Steve Scher sound like a combination of FDR and MLK.

Posted by Fnarf | October 13, 2008 12:54 PM

Somebody may have mentioned this already, but it's worth noting that Sarah Vowell is the voice of Violet Parr in Pixar's "The Incredibles."

Somehow, that just made listening to this a lot more fun for me.
Listening to Violet Parr on KUOW was worth the commute.

I doubt Mr. Scher could have handled Dashiel Parr as well.

Posted by Lenny | October 13, 2008 1:00 PM

@22: So sensitive! That was a friendly joke!

Posted by Aislinn | October 13, 2008 1:08 PM

I really don't get what everyone else is complaining about with Steve. I skip the gardening and what's-in-the-fridge shows he does, but I think he does a reasonably good job with the rest of his shows. It sounds like people are wound up a bit too tight here, his shows are more free-flowing and not so rushed (like Warren's show @11am or Ross @1pm) which suits me just fine. I'll go kick in an extra $100 and let NPR know I'm doing it because of Steve!

Posted by I like Steve! | October 13, 2008 1:10 PM

@25: It's just, you know, Michael Bolton. That was low.

Posted by Greg | October 13, 2008 1:25 PM

@ 26. The chef guy, I skip that, too, now. Question for you, though: I have a sardine, a cup and a half of apple butter, baking soda and some lettuce; any ideas?

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | October 13, 2008 1:35 PM

I agree that Scher can be underprepared, but I do like the "Your Take on the News" weekly show he hosts.

Posted by Steve: not so bad | October 13, 2008 2:07 PM

1) even on the Daily Show, SV wasn't stellar.
2) the weekly Gardening segment is the second segment on Tuesday. Avoid that hour and you won't have to listening to gardening stuff.
3) it's worth nothing that Steve and the other people behind the show tried to do a blog but KUOW shut it down. It you're gonna boycott donating to KUOW (which is a worthy boycott), do it because of the stupid management, not because of SS.
4) Tomorrow's first segment sounds like a hoot: "Why do adolescents talk the way they do? OMG! We're just chillaxin' with our BF4L!!! Penelope Eckert on Weekday today. She's a linguist who studies teen language and social structure. Or whatever. Dude, you should totally tune in, it's gonna be crunk."

Posted by stinkbug | October 13, 2008 2:20 PM

er, #3 should be "it's worth noting"

Posted by stinkbug | October 13, 2008 2:22 PM

I know he's not local, but the daytime NPR host that drives me BATSHIT is Warren Olney (@ 11am). He says "uh" more than anyone on the radio, even more than anyone I've heard in person. I change the channel rather than listen to him uh-ing and ah-ing through his interviews.

Posted by mynameiskate | October 13, 2008 2:53 PM

Thanks, e@12, but I could only listen to like 30 seconds of Steve's halfassed "reporting" before I had to turn it off. Yikes. Back to KPLU for me!

Posted by Big Sven | October 13, 2008 4:22 PM

Anybody rude to Daniel Schorr deserves a rimmer in my book. That fool is useless. I don't need grandpa-time-reading when I'm trying to get some news.

Posted by Shawn | October 13, 2008 4:33 PM

@32 Yes! That guy is horrible. Uh. How did he. Uh. Ever get. Uh. That gig?

Steve Scher always sounds sorta tired and slightly bored (whether he is or not). I get the sense from his demeanor that he would rather be watching TV and eatin' chips than conducting an interview, given the choice.

Posted by homage to me | October 13, 2008 4:58 PM

She did a great interview this morning on KZOK with Bob Rivers. It wasn't awkward at all, and both Sarah and the hosts had a great time talking about her new book and also a little about Assassination Vacation, her previous book. KZOK has had her on before, and she mentioned briefly she had fun the previous time as well.

KZOK has surprising guests on their morning show, despite their "Twisted Tunes" rep. They have economists, authors, actors, comedians, doctors, pilots, engineers, professors of all types of academia, and of course, crazy rednecks that show up in the "odd news" sections of the wire services.

Don't get down on these guys just because they're not on public radio (which I also adore).

Posted by McBastard | October 13, 2008 5:44 PM

I like it that S. Vowell happens to have some less-than-stellar or semi-disinterested media events. It's refreshing to see/hear a lady be sarcastic, bored, snide. One doesn't often see that in ladies in the media. For real. I'd much rather listen to a woman who is exhausted and borderline snotty than a woman who is peppy or enthusiastic. Lynne Rosetto Casper can go stick an eggplant up her butt.

Posted by Ariel | October 13, 2008 6:09 PM

Steve Scher drives me bonkers. He is incapable of asking a question whithout including a rewording of the question itself, adding no value. Stuff like, "What do you think of [topic x]? What is your opinion of it?" He does this dozens of times per show - practically once per question. Since I noticed it, I do nothing but curse at my radio.

Nothing is worse, though, than Derek Wang (rhymes with "shlong"), the local MC for Morning Edition. Do I really need a three-city wind report 5 times an hour? And that folksy, faux southern accent of his: "Hahs 'round 66 degrees." I guess familiarity breeds contempt, and indeed, I hate Derek Wang.

Posted by Free Lunch | October 13, 2008 6:41 PM

@28: Mix the baking soda into the apple butter, toss it into a casserole dish, put the sardines decoratively on top and bake it at 350 for an hour. Let cool, then slice and serve on a lettuce leaf.

The contrast of the salty/sweet flavors will make for an appetizer your guests will never forget!

Posted by TVDinner | October 13, 2008 6:52 PM

@34: as a loyal Slogger, you should know that some people *like* rimmers.


Posted by TVDinner | October 13, 2008 6:53 PM


34 doesn't like Daniel Schorr, dumbass.

No more drunk slogging for you!

Posted by TVDinner | October 13, 2008 6:54 PM

WHy are they still doing the pledge drive this week? Christ, I thought that was supposed to be only a week long and that was last week.

1. Stop fucking hyping how informative NPR is and how it's told us what's important in the financial meltdown in order to get me to give money. NPR was late to the meltdown game and wrong in how it presented it.

2. Get rid of Steve Scher. Especially his intros.

3. Pretty much get rid of all the regular local talk show hosts and replace them with interesting non-bland people. Get David Goldstein in. Bring in any of the Stranger staffers (except Mudede, he should just be thrown to the wolves).

4. Daniel Schorr's commentaries are idiotic nothings. A commentary is supposed to be an opinion. His are rehashing of conventional wisdom at best. His commentary on Georgia/Russia had the amazingly obvious point of "there's problems between the two countries that we don't know how to solve."

5. I do like the guy they have on once a week from Victoria or Vancouver or wherever in BC he's from. Is he still on? I stopped listening a year or two ago cause he was the only thing I really liked and the rest of the time it was crap. Even most of "This American Life."

Posted by King Rat | October 13, 2008 7:21 PM


You're fucked up, drug-addled. That's some of the worst radio there is. Steve is at his laziest on this show. The worst segments involve Eli Sanders, The Stranger's resident harpy on KUOW.

Posted by Patient | October 13, 2008 7:35 PM


No pledges unless they bring back Deborah Brandt.

Posted by Patient | October 13, 2008 7:42 PM


Cut the guy a break, he has to read 3 books a week for interviews plus bone up on tons of current events, all while trying to look even handed. It sounds to me like he's perpetually stuck in a Senior finals week. I think he does a great job.

Nice thing about podcasts, skipping the gardening show is easy, and I don't have to wake before 9 to cache the latest.

Posted by wasn't me | October 13, 2008 11:53 PM

Jesus Christ it's like a fucking McCain/Palin 08 rally in here.

Posted by Jason | October 14, 2008 12:10 AM

Steve Scher drives me crazy too. He always sounds so SMUG.

Posted by MissyMiss | October 14, 2008 12:24 AM

Thanks, TVD. I do have a burlap bag on hand if that needs to be buried for some length of time.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | October 14, 2008 7:32 AM

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