Radio I Love
Feel free to picture me at nine years old, crouched down over a tiny tape recorder fully stocked with AA batteries and a crappy plug-in microphone because that actually happened. My sister Meli and I, we were quite the keen broadcasters, doing everything from news reports to jingles, listeners calls and even ad breaks; if that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.
As I grew up, it was wonderful to develop my taste in music and in documentaries through radio, to discover some some great new programs and to crush on some hosts (you know you did too), to follow them religiously and fall asleep to them (the programs, not the hosts), to record the ones I really loved and to share them with friends.
The invasion of laptops and the internet at home meant that as a Uni student, I could search for specific radio programs from all around the world, bookmark them and listen to them after they had aired – or even live! – which was truly amazing. Now that we’re going more mobile with each day and device that we own, it’s no wonder that radio and podcasts have grown to be the staple of my commute and my primary preferred source of entertainment.
There is something so wonderful about radio storytelling, about having someone whisper into your ear about knowledge, culture, social commentaries and personal stories. As you may have guessed I listen to a lot of radio programs but today, I thought I would share just a few of the ones I love the most and that I think you might really enjoy too.
This American Life by WBEZ Chicago, hosted by Ira Glass since 1995. Ah, Ira Glass, the all around smart, sassy, effortlessly cool man whom you want to be your best friend, your lover and your mentor. TAL blends in essays, field recordings, short fiction and found footage in three acts over an hour and around a common theme. It truly is an outstanding show which will make you laugh, cry, ponder and grow and I have listened to every single episode.
After the Jump by Heritage Radio Network, hosted by Grace Bonney, creative mastermind and author behind Design*Sponge since April 2012. Exploring the day-to-day lives of contemporary makers, designers, artists and creative businesses, After the Jump is a constant source of inspiration for me and a privileged way to peek behind the scenes of the creative industries. It’s fast-paced and packed full of insightful interviews.
Snap Judgement by the Public Radio Exchange and NPR, hosted by Glynn Washington since June 2010. The Snap is something extra special. Like TAL, it’s a clever and colorful mix of weekly themed storytelling and reporting but in a shorter, funnier version and its use of music and sound effects to support the narration is so clever and original. It’s definitely a dramatic kind of show which never shies away from controversial topics.
Kermode and Mayo’s Film Reviews by BBC Radio 5 Live, hosted by its eponymous presenters since 2001. I have to thank Rob for that one as he gracefully initiated me to Wittertainment to help me face morning rush hour on the Hammersmith & City line when we used to live in Ladbroke Grove. Featuring film reviews and in-depth interviews, the show’s signature is first the witty banter its hosts engage in with each other and second, the reading out loud of the short, always so well-written letters sent in by the show’s fans, which truly makes them contributors in their own right.
Fresh Air by WHYY and NPR, hosted by Terry Gross since 1975. Fresh Air is a magazine-form radio program on contemporary arts, culture and society issues. Its truncated “article” offering makes it a pick and mix of mini-essays, reviews and interviews. Trust Fresh Air to live up to its name and address all the latest offerings of the arts and culture world; I find it a great discovery tool.
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