Radio station brings out the animal in its audience

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The Independent US, run out of a caravan in the hills above Los Angeles, is designed to keep pets engaged and amused while their owners are at work. The announcers convince themselves they are communicating with four-legged creatures, and play a panoply of songs that seem suitable for the pet audience ­ Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" being a big favourite.

It runs a Spanish-language hour, to give pets a whole other language they may hear but cannot speak.

The morning host Jane Harris adopts a slightly infantile tone in her voice and enunciates much as though she were addressing an elderly relative with hearing problems. She urges pets to be kind to the postman, not to chew on anything they are not supposed to chew on, and talks about the attention the station has inevitably received.

"I wish I was half as cute as at least a quarter of the pictures we receive at this station," she said yesterday, after spinning a Shania Twain tune with the chorus: "You're still the one I run to, still the one I belong to."

"The radio station all pets enjoy," is its logo. Plus, one suspects, a few lonely pet owners as well.