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When public radio or PBS television station takes a break from normal programming to beg for money.

The absolutely best public radio pledge break I ever heard was this american life's 1998 pledge show. The first act is about a guy who fell in love with public radio during the pledge breaks. It's okay. The second act is about how a radio show is made. The story they take you through is about a guy who answers a personal ad and it's among the sweetest, most sentimental stories I have ever heard.

Yeah, the story's punchline is obvious, and you can see it from a million miles away, and it meanders just a little bit, but if the story doesn't move you, you are a soulless automaton with a heart of stone.

If you've got real player and twenty minutes, you can listen to the show online at:

  http://www.thislife.org/ra/special/pledge_breaks/pledge_show98.ram

The second act starts about twelve minutes in.

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