used to love listening to Rollins College radio (WPRK) while I doodled back in the train/computer room. It had such good DJs (students and wannabees). When I’d drive in to work (on the day’s I didn’t have the bike) I could listen to Nina’s Sunrise Soul or student interviews or whatever. Then Covid hit and the station went into a broadcasting loop, the same songs over and over. Even with the pandemic winding down (but please, Readers, be careful!) they haven’t brought back the wonderful format I enjoyed, not fully.
My radio, 40 years old, finally crapped out and I started looking online for something else to listen to while I work/play. Found Radio.Garden, a wonderful tool that let’s you look around a globe at all the live-streaming radio stations. You just click and there’s your broadcasting. Spain. England. Saudi Arabia. Stateside. I feel like what ham radio operators once felt like, without all the slow knob easing and unfocused scowling.
I started realizing, as I listened to all these stations across Europe, just how little variation our corporate conglomerate radio gives us here in “freedom-loving America”. There are hundreds of new songs coming out ever day, songs from guys in their garage, things you’ve never heard of and might delight to. There is a song currently hot overseas, “Fuck You”, the ultimate breakup song.
“A – B – C – D – E – F – U and your dog and your parents and your job…”
I just listened to this and knew that there was no way our libertine broadcasters, who are so concerned with “safe for the little ears” formats where everything is bleeped and gapped, would play something like this. No, here it’s nothing but the same grinding of over-produced, over-marketed music, focus-grouped and calculated until the human soul has been totally squeezed out of it.
It makes me sad, this profit-driven media where money flushes through the pipes and it’s not about creativity, it’s about capital-potential. So, yes, think about this next time you are driving somewhere and turn on the radio and it’s the same tired “hits” playing over and over.
It really does remind me of the old joke by Steven Wright: “I drove all the way across the country with one cassette tape…. I don’t remember what it was.”
Try Radio.Garden. Remind yourself what a world of song and music can be like.