By Caitlin Kelly
Do any of you listen to the radio?
It’s my favorite medium, by far.
On a recent visit to Paris, (my husband having insisted on us taking a taxi in from the airport), we had a good hour to listen to the cabby’s choice — and discovered our new favorite station, TSF Jazz. It’s fantastic, and a much better mix of music than my New Jersey jazz station, WBGO, which tends to include far too much talk.
We listen to it at home in New York now, streaming it on-line and I had the most unlikely pleasure of recognizing a friend’s voice on TSF singing Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, a new release by the Hot Sardines, a New York based eight-piece band that specializes in 1920s and 1930s music.
(Here’s their current tour schedule, still in the U.S.; they hit England for six shows in May, then Berlin, then Calgary. Go!)
Few things make me as happy as listening to the radio, maybe a holdover from my teen years growing up in Toronto, (a good town for radio), and the glories of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
When I moved to the U.S. in 1989, I started listening to National Public Radio and its panoply of shows: All Things Considered, Studio 360, (my favorite, a weekly review of culture), the New York talk shows of Brian Lehrer, (I’ve been a guest a few times), and Leonard Lopate, The Moth, This American Life and Radiolab.
In New York, where we live, I listen faithfully to WKCR, the college station of Columbia University — and love starting a frigid winter’s Saturday morning listening to their reggae show, then Across 110th Street, which features R & B and funk. In the afternoon, I might switch to WNYC and the Jonathan Schwarz show, which is four hours of the American songbook.
A favorite is John Schaefer, and his WNYC show New Sounds, which introduces me every single time to bands and types of music I’ve never encountered.
I tune in most days to WFUV, which stands for Fordham University’s voice — Fordham is the Jesuit university in Manhattan, and FUV offers a mix of rock, folk and blues.
We also like WQXR, New York’s only classical music station, although they play far too many warhorses and waltzes for my taste.
When I can make time, I’ll tune in to BBC World News, which runs here in New York for a full hour, from 9:00 am ET; I often hear many stories there, and in more detail, than I read or hear from American media.
I love sitting still and just listening.
Here’s a list of 40 great rock and roll songs about the radio, from a Toronto DJ.
Have you got a station or podcast recommendation to share?