When I was starting to take the bus to school to reach my Creative Art’s magnet, my mother would put on National Public Radio. I remember listening and feeling that I was more aware of the world around me, if only for 10 minutes waiting in a car. In my college household, NPR was a staple for early morning listening in the bathroom- yes the bathroom. There was a radio perched behind the toilet where you could hear it through out the small three bedroom house. I began to realize that there was more than news involved: A Prairie Home Companion, A Way With Words, Travel with Rick Steves,Snap Judgement and many other programs made me realize that more than just news, NPR was giving me more to appreciate about life.
Important note: I am not a Neo-Luddite. The soap box I’m standing on is constructed perfectly sound plastic/metal (with the nice safety label sticker we all take for granted). However, there are nuances with every method of media delivery. There are things that can be accomplished in Radio that cannot be appreciated with television. In this highly digital-visual world, radio is the in between medium that focuses on the facts(okay maybe not Rush Limbaugh, but you get what I’m saying?). Radio gives us words and inflection as the means of imparting information, and allows our imaginations to fill in some of the blanks. Imagination is a commodity we can use more of in my humble opinion. Staring at a screen can be passive, less stimulating. It’s not that pictures lack meaning: photo journalism is a beautiful art and vital to understanding physical realities. Movies and shows tell stories that cannot be told strictly with words. That said, staring at faces during a senate hearing is often boring, fill in commentaries are intense, excessive, and at the end certainty of what’s going on is the last thing you get.
In a age of Game of Thrones and Netflix, the news has stiff competition. Most Americans aren’t interested in the long summary. Bombarded by images of the latest school shooting or the most recent tidbit from the Muller investigation, we shut off the TV. Most NPR stories take three to fifteen minutes. Enough time to give facts, a little expert opinion, and time for to digest and form conclusions. Granted, some radio seeks to change our opinions, because every entity has an agenda to some degree, but if the focus is on words and their meaning we can form our own opinions based on what we hear without static information and visuals.
Nowadays, I don’t spend time by a plastic radio, but I am still listening to NPR. First thing in the morning I get a ten minute recap of major news. There’s something for everyone’s interest. Between Stuff You Missed in History Class and Modern Love I get to listen to storytelling and information that tailors to my personal inclinations. If you haven’t tried getting a little of your news or interests fixes via radio, you might want to give it a try. It’s free,fun, and informative: can you get better than that?