KQED's Forum radio program did a show last week on online dating, and a guy named Johnny called in.
"I’m polyamorous, and being in an open marriage, it can sometimes be really difficult to meet somebody out in the wild," he said. "So online dating has made it really easy to kind of cut through to the people who really think that’s okay.”
Disclaimer: Polyamorous Johnny may not be representative of all public radio listeners. So we put a call out through social media and asked listeners to describe the person they were looking for.
Some of the results:
- "Seek female enchantress for potential long-term relationship." Jeffrey Rutzky ,
- "A geek, that would be really great. I'm rather a geek myself." Catherine Lee
- "I'm an urban explorer, technologist, artist and scientist. I'm looking for a co-host for my dinner parties." Joe Edelman
- "Perhaps this will allow for the creation of an uber-race of uber-nerdy Americans who will transform this country into a bastion of sanity." Alex Soros
Yep, lots of people out there are into the idea of mixing love and public radio. And as it turns out, thousands of New Yorkers are too.
Brenda Williams-Butts, senior director of community engagement for WNYC, says her station has been hosting singles events for years. On-air personalities like RadioLab's Jad Abumrad give sold-out lectures to 20 and 30-somethings. And then there's speed-dating in high-end hotels.
"Speed dating was becoming a big hit in New York City," says Williams-Butts. "So we said let's do speed-dating, that would be kind of fun. So we partnered with New York's Easy Dates."
Okay, time to run this idea up the old flagpole with NPR CEO Gary Knell. I recap the interviews and put the question to him: should NPR start an online dating site for its listeners?
Turns out he likes the idea.
"I think that this is something that has fantastic potential," Knell says. "It's a pretty big group and there's got to be several million who are single. They're hungry for a connection and a community of people who, like them, want to engage in and are curious about the world, which is really complicated, and can be really lonely ... I think it's a very cool idea and we should be talking to Match.com. I'm going to hang up the phone and call them now."