Have you ever considered reading a Daily/Observer/Source/Roundtable article about national politics or world issues and instead just thought, “Why? Why is my classmate, the dude wearing sweatpants with the half-eaten Hodgdon burrito resting on his laptop, writing an article about the merits of the public option? What original insight would reading this article provide me that reading a similar but better written article on NYTimes/Politico/Slate.com would not?” I may be mistaken, but it seems that the original insight from sweatpants, burrito dude writing for any Tufts’ publication is zero, and thus, the reasons for reading it are null.
Why then am I so taken in by the political insight of sweatpants burrito dude when he is on the radio? I have no idea whether Jon Erlich or any of his guests on “Tufts Roundtable Live” actually wear sweatpants and eat burritos from Hodgdon, but what I do know is that they sound surprisingly knowledgeable and authoritative for a bunch of college students talking about political issues.
Anybody can press play on an iPod, most people possess the skill to spin a record, but who amongst us can fill an hour of radio time with talk? “Roundtable Live,” Wednesdays at noon, aims to do just that: satisfy the campus’ insatiable desire for talk radio. Lead by DJ, host, and moderator Jon Erlich, the show features guests from the Tufts Roundtable, talking about domestic and international issues as well as a grab bag of Tufts-related issues. During my listen, they discussed domestic politics focusing on the recent gubernatorial elections, the special congressional election, the Middle East peace process, and issues in Afghanistan. In the segment focused on Tufts, they commented about Pub Night v. Club Night, a TCU President’s excessive drinking, and cafeteria trays.
If you are looking for a shouted, political death match of ideological foes, “Roundtable Live” might not be the show for you. The tenor is far more “Morning Edition” than “Crossfire.” While things did get ever so mildly heated when discussing U.S. military support for Israel, voices were never raised, and it sounded as if punches were never thrown. Numbers and percentages back up most assertions, regardless of their factual accuracy, and give the show a veneer of truthiness. The conversations have a good amount of give and take between the guests and the moderator, and even the radio equipment, which, in classic WMFO fashion, had some technical issues. Energy levels remained high throughout the course of the show even as the sound levels varied drastically. While it may not have the polish of Glenn Beck’s radio show, it has far more intelligence and doesn’t leave you wanting to kill yourself.
Overall, my listening experience was pleasant and informative. I would give “Tufts Roundtable Live”: Listen to it if you are dissatisfied with the political coverage in the Daily/Observer/Source/Roundtable, using crappy analog radio that doesn’t tell you what station you are listening to, or unable to find your local National Public Radio station.O
If you are inspired to listen, WMFO can be heard over FM radio at 91.5. What’s that? Your iPod doesn’t have a radio? Neither does mine. Luckily WMFO is also streaming online at WMFO.org.