Day To Day Soaring

National Public Radio’s midday show Day to Day is growing its audience must faster than its producers expected. “The hourlong program airs midday Monday through Friday on 103 stations, as of last week. NPR had been shooting for 75 stations by Sept. 30. Between its launch July 28 and the fall ratings period, Day to Day built a weekly audience of 1,148,200. That’s the biggest audience ever for an NPR show in its first book, says Jay Kernis, NPR’s senior v.p. of programming.”

Of Shopping Malls And Performing Arts Centers

The comparison isn’t too crass, writes Andrew Taylor. “The most striking thing about this comparison is how differently the savvy mall developer and most cultural facility developers speak about what they do. With the shopping mall, at least among these two visionaries, design is about the consumers and how they engage with their world — what draws them in, keeps them in, and lowers their barriers to purchase. With cultural facilities, we seem, instead, to focus on the producers in the equation — the symphony, theater company, road shows — and what they need to produce their seasons.”

Abe Lincoln As A Theme Park?

Civic boosters in Lincoln, Illinois want to build an “Honest Abe” theme park, complete with animatronic figures from history. “Invoking images of Disneyland, the project’s backers promise to build a dignified family attraction, not a kitschy carnival. “There would be nothing degrading about this. It’s a great idea. It’s called edu-tainment.”

What About The V-Chip?

Indecency on the TV? What about the V-chip? “Eight years after Congress adopted the Telecommunications Act of 1996, about 80 million of America’s 275 million television sets have one. But it’s not easy to find anyone, outside of trivia contestants, who knows what a V-chip is. Rarer still are those who can actually make one work.”

US Anti-Cuba Policy Hurts Artists, US

Why is the US government refusing to allow Cuban artists into the United States? “In a profound way, our government takes on the role of oppressor when it tries to control which artists will be allowed access to our minds and our hearts. We may think we are isolating Cuba with our embargo and our travel restrictions, but it is we Americans who are becoming isolated. People travel to Cuba from Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy and Spain — countries we consider staunch allies.”

Picasso – Patron Saint Of Today’s Architects?

“Today, many architects – bored of straight lines and right angles on the one hand, and of the kitsch post-modern design that did so much to dumb down city skylines in the 1980s on the other – have decided that they want to be Picasso, too. They want to imbue matter-of-fact buildings like office blocks and blocks of flats with the spirit of the great artist and sculptor.”

Groking The Norah Jones Phenomenon

What accounts for the phenomenal success of an artist like Norah Jones? “There are sociological explanations. Critics point out, accurately, that young artists like Jones, who is twenty-five, and Josh Groban and Michael Bublé are selling soothing songs by the seashore to a much older audience. These artists’ faith in melody and acoustic instruments ostensibly provides evidence that not all musicians below the age of thirty are getting tattooed with runic symbols and sending viruses to each other on tiny, inscrutable batphones. Record companies have agreed to think that the older audience is their pot of gold. This is half science—the percentage of records being bought by listeners above the age of thirty is growing—and half hearsay.”