- Listening In Some Thoughts on World Radio
To say Im
a radio fan is an understatement. I listen in all kinds of ways. I started,
of course, with regular radio. I have some favourite programs. On Saturday
nights its Danny Marks blues show on jazz.fm 91.1 here in
Toronto, Ontario. During the week I listen to CBCs Radio One: Quirks
and Quarks, Stuart McLean, Randy Bachmans Vinyl Tap and Eleanor
Wachtels Writers and Company.
I am an early adopter of technology and got this USB computer attachment
which allows me to transmit audio from my computer to my stereo system
in the next room. I like to listen to some BBC programs on the Internet
so I started beaming them to my stereo.
Dave Raven creates his program, Raven n Blues from his houseboat
on the Thames just outside of London, England. Its a really good
show and I listen to it often.
I have a friend who is from Great Britain. Before he got a high speed
connection, up north, I used to record a BBC program called Sorry
I Havent a Clue for him on my computer. When I had recorded
a nice handful of them Id send them on to him along with other stuff
that I hoped hell find interesting.
From the BBC and Radio Netherlands I went further afield and discovered
Australian radio. I discovered that some regular radio programs could
be downloaded as mp3 files, which saved me a lot of recording. Thats
how I got into the Podcast world. A Podcast is just an Mp3 sound file
that can be listened to when you have time, either on the computer on
on an iPod or other Mp3 player. I went online and purchased some software
called FeedDemon to collect my favourites for download. I like to listen
to Mark Blevis from Ottawa with Electric Sky. I subscribe Dave
Ravens program too and Austin
I started putting my radio and Podcast mp3 files on a Creative Zen mp3
player, so that I could listen to them at night. I have a condition called
Restless Leg Syndrome which keeps me awake sometimes, so I always have
something interesting to listen to: talk shows, documentaries, drama and
music. A Podcast called Thomas Edisons Attic has early music --
some pieces taken from wax cylinders and some from very early 78s. Its
like having an ear into the past.
I like radio theatre: plays and skits and early radio sitcoms like Burns
and Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly, the Great Gildersleeve and some dramatic
programs like Inner Sanctum. In radio they seem to like dramas that have
you on the edge of your seat the boat going down with all hands
or something dreadful coming up from the basement. I have a fair number
Im picking up little catch phrases from listening to old time radio
skits such as saying, for someone whos a skinflint, that theyre
tight as a toreadors pants. We always used to say tight
as the bark on a tree but I thing toreadors pants
covers it, ahem, adequately.
Im doing my own Podcasts now which gives me an appreciation of what
goes in to producing these things. It takes some learning.
What Im trying to say is that through the Internet you can listen
to the radio from anywhere around the world, including the USAs
NPR (National Public radio is big) and PRI (Public Radio International).
Im getting a full-fledged education just lying in my bed and listening
to the world.
I sometimes take my Mp3 player with me when Im traveling around
and people wonder why Im so plugged in. Well, Ive got something
to be plugged into.
I have a fairly extensive website and on it are some pages of interest
to the listener.
My listen live links where you can choose a radio station to listen to
I have a page for world radio at
When I did this chapter as a Podcast I put a little sound clip at the
beginning that was taken from a 1902 Edison gold-molded record from
http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/index.php where they have thousands
of these early recordings, many on wax cylinders that have been transposed
for listening in. I put it in to illustrate that folks have been listening
for a long, long time.
I was at Hughs Room in Toronto to hear Maria Muldaur not too long
ago. At the same table were Suzie Rotolo (Bob Dylans former lady)
and Bob Harris, a well known presenter from BBC Radio 2.
Suzie was surprised that I listened to WNYCs Leonard Lopate on a
Bob Harris and his friendly associate were also surprised to learn about
my collecting I Havent a Clue from BBC Radio 7 and that
I also listened in to Dave Ravens Raven n Blues and
Westway, a radio soap opera. We had an instant commonality. Radio is the
tie that binds.
Im listening away and Im picking up my guitar and vocal skills
to begin and exit these little Podcasts because people like music and
they especially like it when its free.
© Sonia Fricker Brock 2005