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For NPR's 50th — A Story Served With Laughter And Cheetos

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

To help ALL THINGS CONSIDERED celebrate 50 years on the air, listeners are sharing stories that have stayed with them.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Today, Michael Spikes of Skokie, Ill., tells us about a piece from 2006 that he used to teach in his media production classes because he loves the sound in it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: I like them so much. They're my favorite. When I eat Hot Cheetos, I get crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: I just love Hot Cheetos.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: I love them so much.

(LAUGHTER)

MICHAEL SPIKES: It was a story about a principal banning her students from eating Flamin' Hot Cheetos on their campus.

SHAPIRO: Yes, the reporter included a food scientist and a Frito-Lay spokesperson, but Spikes says...

SPIKES: Really, what it is - what captures your attention so much is the sound of the kids in the story. And that is juxtaposed with the narration that comes from the reporter, you know, who talks about it in somewhat - a little bit more of - I don't want to say clinical way, but, you know, talks like an adult would talk about Flamin' Hot Cheetos. And I just use that story because they always - they listen to it. They laugh at it. You know, they get engaged with it, not only just because of the subject but also because of what they heard in it.

CHANG: Michael Spikes, you caught us. Now you all know our 50-year winning formula. Just sprinkle your hard news with some giggling kids, and boom, radio magic.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: One, two, three. Hot Cheetos (unintelligible).

(SOUNDBITE OF DATAROCK'S "FA-FA-FA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Art Silverman has been with NPR since 1978. He came to NPR after working for six years at a daily newspaper in Claremont, New Hampshire.
Justine Kenin
Justine Kenin is an editor on All Things Considered. She joined NPR in 1999 as an intern. Nothing makes her happier than getting a book in the right reader's hands – most especially her own.
Alejandra Marquez Janse
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