This evening, one of our local activists, Garth Mullins, produced and narrated an episode of the influential Ideas show on CBC Radio. The program was called “End of the Dial” and was described as:
“Newspapers, publishing and the recording industry may all be in deep trouble from online media. But pronouncements about the death of radio are premature. Contributor Garth Mullins believes we’re witnessing the dawning of a radio renaissance.”
It was a fascinating documentary and an intelligent look at how radio and podcasting will survive in our on-line world. But beyond that, it was — especially in the first half — a smack in the head evoking memories and waves of nostalgia.
Garth talked about how, growing up in the far north, he connected with the world through a short wave radio. I never was a ham in that way, but I had a decent small radio from a very early age and it was a lifeline for me.
In the late 1950s in London, I laid in bed late at night listening to crackling baseball games coming from American Forces Radio, Voice of America broadcasts in “simple English” (or “slow talkers of America” as my Dad and I called them), Radio Moscow propaganda, the glorious voice of Garner Ted Armstrong and his Worldwide Church of God, lots of boxing matches where I had to imagine the impact of the blows, and early rock and roll. It was wonderful.
When I first came to Canada in the late 1970s, I worked up in Stewart near the Alaska border, and there wasn’t much TV that I recall. But that was when I discovered the wonder of late-evening and early-morning CBC Radio. Allan McFee’s Eclectic Circus (going out to “all those in vacuumland”) was my end-of-day sleeping pill, while a time-shifted Morningside with Don Harron woke me up (I stopped listening once Gzowski took over). Great days they were.
These days, I listen to BBC Radio 4 all morning and then switch to CBC Radio in the afternoon. In the evenings I often check out BBC World Service. I love radio far more than TV. It is not quite as much fun as the static-filled broadcasts that I listened to under the sheets, but it is still my medium of choice.