It may have once been described to me as "like being stuck at an old relative's house on a rainy afternoon," but I have to admit to loving Jonathan Schwartz's pair of weekend afternoon radio shows ("The Saturday Show" and "The Sunday Show"). The veteran radio personality spins American songbook fare, old pop standards, new and old jazz charts, as well as contemporary Broadway tunes, not to mention a whole hour of Sinatra at 1 pm. (Sometimes I'm in the mood, but sometimes I skip that hour.) If I've got nothing else going on from 12 to 4 either afternoon, I'm usually content to putter around the apartment and listen to WNYC (and learn of great new or new-to-me recordings).
Since it's simulcast on XM Satellite Radio, he always makes it a point of saying, "It's noon in the East, 9 am in the West," then announces whatever kind of day it is, weatherwise: "It's a beautiful, clear, cold, wintery day in New York." He can get a bit precious at times, like when he manages to refer to five different songs in the same afternoon as "the absolute greatest" this or "the absolute greatest" that. But these mannerisms are easily forgotten by the time he hits play, and listeners get to enjoy the music.
I'd have to rank his show up there as one of the things I really love about living in the city (although I guess if you have an XM receiver, you don't have to be here to appreciate it). You could think of it as the soundtrack to all those old movies that treat New York and the love that's associated with it as a third lead, as a dream, an ideal, a talisman, a place of the imagination.
One other tidbit: The wordless vocal and guitar intro that he uses to open each show is such a distinctive little riff, I wish I could get a copy of it. It's in the same vein as the theme to that '60s French film "A Man and a Woman," but slightly slower. A quick search (via Google, which Schwartz was actually just musing about last hour) turns up this page from the 'NYC site and this info:
"The identity of the opening theme, which has been employed for this purpose for over 30 years, has never been revealed either on or off the air," says Jonathan Schwartz [in typically dramatic fashion, yet no doubt also uttered with his trademark laid-back intimacy and perpetual breathy amazement at the world]. "I can say, however, that is from a private tape and has never been commercially issued."