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Diary of a Public Radio Slave
Kerri Wood Thomson
When Sloan Kennedy is handed a pink slip from her employer and her fiancé, she has to find a way to pay the mortgage on a new house and cancel all of her wedding plans. After a minor breakdown (she allows herself a week long pity party), Sloan applies for an administrative assistant position at the local Public Radio station. The position is a step down from her former job as an announcer, but Sloan is desperate, and at least it's in broadcasting.

While filling out the application Sloan meets Horg (his goth name), a student employee, who is perfecting his British accent, with hopes of one day working for the BBC. Also lurking in the lobby is Gladys, the station's 85-year-old busy body. Gladys has worked at the radio station since War Of The Worlds was broadcast, and she knows all the gossip regarding the station's employees and volunteers. Marjorie, the Fundraising Director, interviews Sloan, in a cluttered conference room, disappearing at one point to blend herself a wheat-grass smoothie. Marjorie hires Sloan, and promptly disappears, leaving Sloan to get accustomed to her new job on the front lines of a public radio station. Sloan quickly realizes that while the majority of her new coworkers, and many of the radio station's listeners are bizarre, her new boss Marjorie is her nemesis. Gladys describes Marjorie as "flakier than a bowl full of dandruff" and the description is accurate. During a marketing campaign gone awry, Marjorie designs jumbo postcards to be mailed to all the listeners, but instead of highlighting public radio listener's superb intellect with the slogan "Survival of the Fittest" the postcards are mailed out proclaiming "Survival of the Fattest." Sloan is left to deal with the backlash of phone calls from irate listeners.

The station is gearing up for a pledge drive, which will include a visit by Sebastian Kohler, a preeminent public radio personality, ala Garrison Keeler. While Sloan navigates the daily duties of an administrative assistant (making vats of coffee and answering the recurring question, "Who is in the bathroom?") she must also deal with the delicate psyches of her coworkers and locate all the items on Mr. Kohler's Green Room list, including a specialty breathe mint, rumored to help squelch Mr. Kohler's notorious halitosis.

Amidst a blizzard the pledge drive begins. While it's bitterly cold outside, too cold for many of the decrepit volunteers to venture out of their homes to answer phones, inside the station it's sweltering. The heater has gone on the fritz, forcing staff to strip down to long johns and tube tops. Cliff, the station engineer, who still hasn't learned how to send an email, is no help in remedying the problem and can typically be found napping on the lobby carpet. The only person not sweating is Vivienne, the germophobic office accountant/announcer, who despises anyone sharing her air space, but especially Marjorie.

Marjorie and Vivienne quickly lock horns over the color of paper used in the printer, causing a tense show-down. And on the day that Mr. Kohler arrives, with a line of fans stretching around the building, tension between Marjorie and Vivienne boils over and the two grown women lock themselves in a bathroom together, refusing to come out. It's a stand-off that leaves Mr. Kohler unattended, and no one to interview him. Knowing that she could lose her job, but determined that the show must go on, Sloan takes charge, going on-air to interview Sebastian about his latest book.
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