~~I found out from France Culture that today is World Radio Day, designated so by theUnited Nations (http://www.worldradioday.org/). You wouldn’t know it here in Boston–at least so far in the progress of the day. We’re busy with the latest snowstorm. My local station, WBUR (a great station, I should add) is pushing with one of its interminable fundraising campaigns:dozen red roses for Valentine’s Day, blah, blah, blah. But for me the day is cause for celebration, reflection, and gratitude.
My love for radio, good radio, is deep and enduring, spanning continents and languages and cities: from Amman and Beirut in the 1960s, to Iowa City in the 1970s, to Los Angeles in the 1980s where I stumbled one day on Pacifica’s KPFK, to Boston in the 1990s and until now, radio has educated, consoled, angered, and sustained me. But above all, it has been a portal of passage, a source of delight and enlightenment in equal parts. Nothing compares to it, nothing–and television is a very poor competitor at best, especially nowadays when there is so much innovative radio around us, so much good, accessible material from around the world.
Boston, where I live, is one of the great cities for radio, as was Los Angeles in the 1980s. But nowadays, it makes no difference where one lives–and that is one of life’s great pleasures for me: to listen to the radio programs of the world, in languages I understand and some that I don’t, mesmerized again as I was then, in the 1960s, when radio offered us life after the school day–from news of political upheavals, to Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley and Oum Koulthoum, to readings of Anna Karenina (in Arabic translation) and Naguib Mahfouz, and more. Radio was a second education for us all, a shadow school, in sound, a school of life, of being citizens of the world, of being eloquent, and more.
Nowadays, radio–at least in Boston–is in its full glory, extracting the same attention as it did then, when I was a young girl, transporting me to other worlds and other lives, to ideas and imagined possibilities through the seamless web of sound and meaning and imagined possibilities. All this.~~