I value meaningful conversation tremendously, (verbal, written, auditory, visual, telepathic), but I spend almost no time at all talking about politics, the news, sports, or anything related to popular culture. I will talk about the weather, if I must make idle chit-chat, but I pay so little attention to the other topics, I’m really not competent to talk about them. For example, I had never heard of this woman who was on trial for the murder of her toddler until the news of her acquittal last week; in other words, things considered news have to become top-level stories or I am able to avoid them. I get away with this because: I spend most of my time alone; I don’t own a television; I don’t enjoy watching sports of any sort; and I don’t see many films.
For news, I usually listen to one news show on the radio every day, either Morning Edition, As it Happens (Canadian Broadcast Radio) or BBC News Hour. Other than time spent working (which I’m not doing at the moment) or volunteering, I spend a good part of my time alone in silence. I listen to music: rock, folk, classical, choral. I take walks. And I do I listen to quite a few radio shows from public radio programming around the globe: topic-related programs; interviews; science shows; word games (Says You); music-related shows (Sound Opinions, American Roots, Vinyl Cafe, and World Cafe); story-reading (Selected Shorts); story telling (The Moth); plays (LA Theater Productions); and other shows that continually are smart, funny, entertaining, but also seriously creative and artful.
If you ask me about favorite TV shows, I have had a few. I watched every season of Six Feet Under and Oz on HBO, and before those, I was pretty committed to ER and Buffy. But that’s about it. I’ve found far more gems on the radio. These are my favorite radio shows. Most of the time, they don’t disappoint.
- This American Life (WBEZ Chicago)
- Radio Lab (WNYC)
- Selected Shorts (WNYC)
- Snap Judgment (Public Radio Talent Quest)
- To the Best of Our Knowledge (Public Radio International)
- The Moth Radio Hour (PRX)
- Wire Tap (CBC Radio)
- State of the Reunion (PRX)
- The State We’re In (Radio Netherlands)
- Sound Opinions (WBEZ Chicago)
- Studio 360 (PRI)
- World Cafe (WXPN)
- The World (BBC)
- Are We Alone? (SETI Institute)
- LA Theater Works
- Says You
- The Vinyl Cafe (CBC Radio)