I happened to have KOMO-AM (1000) on over the weekend and was reminded why I listen to and watch so little mainstream news. Forget apartment fires, crime, and celebrity updates, the airwaves are really awash in stories of the "news you can use" variety, meaning an endless and annoying stream of traffic and weather reports, mixed with consumer features that remind you to live the lifestyle of someone who religiously flips their mattresses every three months and who would never, ever consider removing the tag under penalty of law. KOMO-TV (4) used to be a local leader in such consumer reporting, partly because programming seemed to suggest that a large number of viewers lived in South King County apartments and trailers and didn't know how to diaper their own kids. Their reports targeted the lowest common denominator: people who needed to be hand-held through life. That approach doesn't just provide how-to information, it forms a media barrage that puts your local TV or radio news outlet in the position of becoming your self-appointed nanny. A small but irritating example: On Memorial Day, KOMO radio reported that there were major waits at the San Juan Islands ferry slips. During a report at around 4 p.m., KOMO indicated the next available ferry from Orcas Island to Anacortes (the home-bound ferry for most vacationers) was at 8 p.m. and that it was already half full, four hours in advance. Good, useful information on a busy holiday weekend. But then the reporter seemed to become annoyed that more people weren't hurrying to get in line. He said something to the effect that he wouldn't want to be the one who had to call in tomorrow morning and tell them he wasn't going to make it in to work. So, instead of merely providing practical consumer information, this prig is concerned that we all show up to work on time, as if we're not adult enough to make our own decisions about such things. Besides, "missing" an island ferry is a tradition, like getting the 24-hour flu on a sunny winter day when there's fresh powder in the mountains. Judging by "news" content, KOMO radio's listeners seem to be comprised of ombrophobes who are afraid to go out of the house lest they get their heads and feet wet, or obsessed geeks who need to calculate the fastest way across Lake Washington multiple times per hour – even on holidays. Add to that people who apparently want a radio nanny to remind them not to play hooky.