Slacking through spring break on the writing, so let's go right to the cutting and pasting:
No matter how mainstream your audience is in truth, or how balanced you are in substance, or how many opinions you solicit from average red-state Joes, the prevailing feeling is that your style is unmistakably liberal.
It's the folksy music between segments (never mind that it's often jazzy or electronic or classical; the effect is folksy). It's the warm, earnest quality of the hosts' and reporters' voices. It's their exotic names — Mandalit del Barco, Lakshmi Singh, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Daniel Zwerdling. Are these tea party names? No, they're soy chai latte names. It's obvious.
Face it, NPR, you could go content-free, relying only on those quirky music snippets and reporters saying their names, and you'd still come across as a granola bar disguised as a radio network.