Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 35° Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Move Over Muzak, Here’s Tedium Top 10

Lindsey Tanner Associated Press

Cowboy yodeler Slim Whitman sings “It’s a Small World.”

Leonard Nimoy belts out “Proud Mary.”

Bing Crosby croons “Hey Jude,” complete with his trademark “bum-ba bum bum.”

Sound about as appealing as fingernails on a blackboard? Then public radio’s Jim Nayder, creator of the weekly show “Annoying Music,” has chosen well.

The show is built on the assumption that listeners won’t rush to change the station when the Brady Bunch starts chirping “American Pie.” So many people have stayed tuned, in fact, that the show is going national, offering excruciating music to listeners coast to coast.

“Bad music, you switch the station. Annoying music is sort of like passing an accident - you know you don’t want to look, but you sort of have to,” Nayder says, explaining the popularity of a show that started out as an experiment for listeners of WBEZ-FM 17 months ago.

As Nayder recalls it, the station had a few spare minutes in its Saturday lineup. Someone asked Nayder, a 43-year-old independent producer known for his dry humor, if he could fill in.

Nayder happily obliged, playing a yodeling version of “It’s a Small World.”

“‘It’s a Small World’ is annoying on its own, but this particular version was like a train wreck,” Nayder says. “The phone started ringing as soon as it was over, people saying they loved the show and when would it next be on.”

It has been on ever since, a program of a mere three minutes or so featuring one song each week, such as Kate Smith belting the Beatles’ soothing ballad “Yesterday.”

Nayder picks the tunes, based on a loose set of rules. They can’t be intentionally funny or bad. Which is why Pat Boone’s recent heavy metal album didn’t qualify.

The show goes national on Aug. 20 on 90 public radio stations.

“I just feel sorry for the country,” says WBEZ general manager Torey Malatia.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.