In the old days (two weeks ago), I got 14 minutes a day with broadcast radio, during the drive to and from the ferry. For the northeastern liberal who favors the AAA format, there were generally two or three choices: WAMC, the regional public radio station, which at those times is playing Morning Edition with some regional news thrown in (or, if I caught the later ferry, I got the regional forecast by Mike Landin out of SUNY Albany’s Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Department; it’s like driving with a scientist), and there was...
Make that one choice.
NOW...hoo-boy! There’s 107.1 — “The Peak” — out of White Plains, playing, you know, rock, but not classic rock and not “world class” rock (update: I'm wrong, it IS "world class rock.") There’s WFUV, Fordham University’s folksy AAA station, interrupted occasionally by actual Fordham University sporting events, which, I mean please, really, who cares (and my sister went to Fordham, but still). Also interrupted occasionally by Steely Dan and/or Steve Miller, puh-extra-leeeze. And then there's WNYC, New York's public radio station.
It's possible that nothing strikes closer to the upstate/downstate, Hudson Valley/Manhattan vibe than the NYC/AMC dichotomy. (Then again, it's possible that the economic differences between Jamestown and Scarsdale come close.) To illustrate the difference between WNYC and WAMC, let me try this. Take Alan Chartock on the one hand, and Soterios Johnson on the other. It's like Bugs Bunny versus Felix Unger. Jimmy Cagney versus Ralph Fiennes. Woody Guthrie versus Frank Sinatra, but also, ALSO, Frank Sinatra versus Bing Crosby. Oat bran versus pudding. Soil/marble. Wood floors/tile floors. WHAT MORE DO I HAVE TO SAY?