It seems like NPR (and the stations producing the local segments) should get more credit for the annual "Toast of the Nation" New Year's Eve live broadcast. Especially this past year (2009), which was the 30th anniversary of the program and was heard locally on KPLU-FM.
The concept is pretty cool — to ring in the New Year with live music from venues in each of the four time zones in the continental United States — and it definitely has a certain "Golden Age of Radio" feel. For Seattleites and other West Coasters, we can take part in as many as three chances to warm-up for the big Pacific Time Zone celebration (though I personally only heard the New York portion last night). If I lived east of here, I'm not sure that I'd tune in to hear the New Year ringing in someplace else if it was 1 am where I lived and I'd already celebrated in my time zone, but maybe that's just me.
For those who missed the live broadcast on KPLU-FM or who want to hear it again, recordings of each performance are available to stream online at the NPR Music site.
It may be that "Toast of the Nation" is just too old-fashioned to get much traction in the 21st century. It may also be that NPR has not fully embraced the program, and not created a level of spectacle and celebrity commensurate with the festive occasion. After all, this should be New Year's Rockin' Eve for the public radio set.
My personal belief is that the show needs a host or hosts who are the public radio equivalent of Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest to really catch on. In my mind, that would be none other than Daniel Schorr and Scott Simon.
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