Mornings with Public Radio

With the recent hot weather, the Boo and I tend to strike out early on our daily three-mile hike through my hilly neighborhood.  She’s smiling and wagging the whole way, smelling delicious odors that (fortunately) escape me, rationing a few drops of pee for each deserving spot. I’m entertained as well, but while it’s Boo’s nose that keeps her occupied, it’s my ears.

My morning companions are American Public Radio’s The Story, Ira Glass’s This American Life, and the marvelous podcast, The Moth. This summer, I listened to the story of a marathoneer who, at the age of 23, found she had a potentially fatal heart condition, and I followed her through her eventual heart transplants (yes, she had two) and her special relationship with her cardiologist. Incredible.  I learned about the habits of ants (!), and why being a guy ant is not such a terrific idea. I was privileged to hear about the life of a rap singer who studied Bach in Africa, and the story of a man who grew up poor, never realizing that his threadbare, eccentric uncles were worth millions – and would one day leave it all to him.

I’m also a fan of the New York Times Book Review, where Sam Tanenhaus keeps me up to date on what’s new, including lots of books that I’ll never read, and a few gems that I never would have known about were it not for the podcast.

Slate Magazine’s Culture Gabfest endlessly entertains me. I love the camaraderie of the host and guests as much as I enjoy their review of music, books, movie and TV.

And finally, who can get by without listening to Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air?

I don’t listen to everything, mind you. If it’s depressing – no way. If it’s aggravating – forget it. If I find myself getting stressed out, as I did when listening to a recent episode on false confessions that ran on “The Story,” I stop listening.

Yes, I know there are bad things that happen out there, but when I’m out walking my dog, I want to be at least as happy as she is.  I want to be uplifted, thrilled, amazed, and humbled. I want to learn about the best of us, not the worst.  I want a happy ending, when you get right down to it.

Sometimes I can barely wait to get home to download a new album or book. (I suppose it’s a sign of my age that I have to keep repeating the name of the work to myself over and over so I won’t forget by the time I walk in my front door.) Other times I can’t take off my headset until I finish the episode, so I wander around my house puttering and listening until the story concludes.

There’s so much great content out there (Oh, no! I forgot to mention the Ted lectures!) that I never worry about running out of interesting material. And I’ve been known to sneak my iPod into bed at night, when I’m having a hard time sleeping, and catching up on a “Fresh Air” episode or two (I feel like an 8-year old child, reading with the flashlight under the covers!).

Small pleasures. Big rewards. I’m totally a public radio addict!

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One Response

  1. It helps with the morning commute, too! I’m with you on the depressing stories…then I start channel surfing 🙂 Great post, Terry!

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