My poor little radio! Still working, even after (!) it fell off a shelf into a bucket of soapy water last week
By Caitlin Kelly
A writer…Must be print!
I grew up in Canada, where the CBC was huge; we now listen to it on the Internet, and it makes me homesick!
At boarding school, always sharing a room with three or four others, we’d get into radio wars, turning up our little transistors as loud as possible to drown out competing music.
Guess whose radio got confiscated?
As a teenager living in Toronto with my father, the CBC nightly news show, As It Happens, dominated every dinner.
I didn’t own a television in my 20s. In the days before cable and hundreds of streaming services — and with plenty of friends to hang out with — it wasn’t interesting.
So radio has long been my low-cost, portable stalwart companion.
When I was a reporter at the Globe & Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, I’d listen to the news before heading to work — and hear my own stories reported again: “rip and read radio” we called it.
One of my favorite memories was arriving in Salluit, Quebec, at the Arctic Circle in December, on assignment for the Montreal Gazette. The tiny village had disliked a previous story of mine (poorly edited!) and no one wanted to speak with me now.
I had 24 hours there and the flight had cost $5,000.
So I went into the particle board shack that was their local radio station and a local man interviewed me in English, then translated my replies into Inuktitut and broadcast them to the village.
It worked, and people at the village hall that evening shared a powerful story with me of government mismanagement. Not the original assignment, but much stronger.
I recently re-watched the terrific The King’s Speech, the 2010 film about King George VI having to give a radio speech despite his stutter.
Then there’s Van Morrison’s classic Caravan, a radio-themed song, off of Moondance.
My favorite Saturday routine is listening to This American Life at 1:00 pm ET, followed by The Moth, on NPR. The first is a set of three related true-life stories, the second story-telling before a live audience by regular (coached) people. I enjoy “appointment radio” — when, of course, everything is now easily listened to by podcasts.
I also enjoy WKCR’s reggae Saturday morning show, followed by Across 110th St., with funk and blues; it’s the radio station for Columbia University.
Then our favorite, TSFJazz, from Paris, which plays a phenomenal range of music, with and without lyrics.
I work alone at home, without kid or pets, so the radio is such a welcome companion, whether music or talk show while television requires me to sit still in one place; I can enjoy the radio lying in bed or the bath or doing some housework at the same time.
In our car, we have Sirius XM, with its enormous array of stations — from Canadian comedy to my current favorite, Channel 163, Chansons, which only plays French music, a mix of country (!), folk, hip-hop, pop. It’s helping me stay fresh with my French vocabulary and introducing me to so many great new performers.
I love this one, Courir, by Gaspé musician Guillaume Arsenault.
Do you listen to or enjoy radio?