BOB GARFIELD: In our desire to plumb the depths of the young among us, we asked a teenager to carry around a tape recorder to track her media consumption on a typical day this week. So ladies and gentlemen, here for your delectation is the media diet of 16 year old Janesse Nieves of the South Bronx, beginning with the moment she opens her eyes. [BUZZER RINGING]
JANESSE NIEVES: I hate that buzzer! I really do! So I turn it off as soon as I wake up and leave the radio on. [RADIO PLAYS] I always sleep with the radio. I can't sleep without it for some reason.
ANNOUNCER: ...events up next on Hot 97.
JANESSE NIEVES: I turn to Hot 97's morning show with Star and Buc Wild. Star calls himself a "hater," but he just speaks his mind about everyone! That's all!
STAR: I went on a date with somebody, call them up a week later, she says well who's this?! I said Star! Calling your beautiful daughter! She said you, you mean my 16 year old daughter? I said whoa!!! [LAUGHTER] Whoa!!!
JANESSE NIEVES: You know, I'm trying to be like that, especially in school -- like not caring what anybody thinks, not being afraid to sit in class or raise your hand and say something when you want to say it - even if it sounds stupid. But then you know sometimes he does go overboard.
STAR: Anyway folks, coming up at 7:20 I, I have a sincere apology in regards to Aaliyah....
JANESSE NIEVES: Let me tell you -- on Monday, after Aaliyah died, you know, that singer and actress who was killed in a plane crash -- Star played these special effects, right? Sounds of a woman screaming while a plane goes down. It crashed. And then you didn't hear anything. After that his co-host walked out on him. And I don't blame her! Then he actually played it again. As one of her fans, I was mad as hell. But the next day he apologized.
STAR: [Yeah, I can] apologize for Aaliyah's family and her, and her friends and-- and you know Hot 97 listeners! Sure, I can apologize! That, that's, that's nothing that's beyond me--
JANESSE NIEVES: I accepted his apology, and anyway, my last memory of Aaliyah won't be a sound effect. It'll be her music!
AALIYAH: [SINGING] OH, OHHHH-- DUST YOURSELF OFF AND SHAKE IT...
JANESSE NIEVES: I remember when that song came out. I kept playing it over and over again. I used to get in front of the mirror and make believe I was one of her dancers. She was real smooth. She made me feel like I didn't have to try hard. I could just be me!
AALIYAH: [SINGING] ...DOING TO YOU, DOING TO ME BUT I CAN'T LET IT GO SO EASILY...
JANESSE NIEVES: Cartoon time! [CARTOONS PLAY] In the summer I watch all the cartoons I missed during the school year like Rugrats. They're so cute!
DADDY: [SHOUTING] Angelica!!
ANGELICA: Hm? Oh! Hello, daddy!
DADDY: Angelica, didn't daddy specifically explain to you [SHOUTING] about a hundred times how important these papers are?
ANGELICA: Yes, daddy! I'm so sorry. I'll never do it again.
JANESSE NIEVES: After a while though, cartoons get boring and I start to realize unlike the Rugrats, I'm getting older, and I can't get away with everything. [AMBIENT SOUND SUBWAY] On the number 5 express train into Manhattan, if you don't have music or something to read, you look up and see all these ads. This is one that always seems to catch my eye. It says: Fast Track to Who You Want to Be. And it shows all these college graduates. That's going to be me one day. [PLAY STATION NOISES] When I get home the Play Station is always on. I've got to remind my brother that he needs a life. I go and see if my mother has a newspaper.
JANESSE NIEVES: Do you have the paper?
JANESSE NIEVES: You didn't buy the paper?! What's going on?!
JANESSE NIEVES: Anyway, at least there's always the Internet. [MODEM DIAL UP SOUNDS] The Internet is one place I know I can count on to get the story on what's up with the world.
JANESSE NIEVES: [READING] Fans Remember Aaliyah. Twenty-two year old R&B singer killed in plane crash.
JANESSE NIEVES: It's also fun to surf the net and check things out! I like go to a site called Diamonds Forever.com where you can customize your own engagement ring -- how phat is that?!
I'm not engaged or anything; I just like to imagine all the diamonds I'll have in the future.
Then I go to a web site called On The Line.org. It's where I go to speak my mind about different topics, like that song Because I Got High by Afroman--
AFROMAN: [SINGING] I WAS GONNA CLEAN MY ROOM UNTIL I GOT HIGH [LAUGHS]
BACKUP SINGERS: OOO--OOO--OOO
AFROMAN: I WAS GONNA GET UP AND FIND THE BROOM BUT THEN I GOT HIGH
JANESSE NIEVES: Some people think the song encourages teens to get high. I don't think so! I think he's trying to say not to.
AFROMAN: [SINGING] I MESSED UP MY ENTIRE LIFE BECAUSE I GOT HIGH
JANESSE NIEVES: Look what he lost by getting high!
AFROMAN: I LOST MY KIDS AND WIFE BECAUSE I GOT HIGH
JANESSE NIEVES: Lying in my bed, listening to the radio, I'm by myself. But I feel like people are listening to my thoughts. Somehow everything seems meant for me. Star of Hot 97 knows I hate that buzzer. So he comes on to make me laugh. When Afroman sings [LAUGHS] I feel like he knows that my father was a drug addict. And when Aaliyah says:
IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED DUST YOURSELF OFF AND TRY AGAIN
it makes me think about the two years I wasted not going to high school. I'm going back this fall to try again. People are always asking [IMITATING] Are we alone in this world? I think not. For On the Media in the Bronx, I'm Janesse Nieves.
AALIYAH: [SINGING] DUST YOURSELF AND TRY AGAIN YOU CAN DUST IT OFF AND TRY AGAIN, TRY AGAIN CAUSE IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED-- YOU CAN DUST IT OFF AND TRY AGAIN DUST YOURSELF OFF AND TRY AGAIN, TRY AGAIN....
BOB GARFIELD: That's it for this week's show. On the Media was produced by Janeen Price, Katya Rogers and Melissa Sanford; engineered by Irene Trudel and edited-- by Brooke. Janesse Nieves's Media Diet piece was produced by Maryann McCune [sp?]. We had help from Dylan Keefe and Sean Landis. Our web master is Amy Pearl.
BROOKE GLADSTONE:Mike Pesca is our producer at large; Arun Rath our senior producer and Dean Cappello our executive producer. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. This is On the Media from National Public Radio. I'm Brooke Gladstone.