When I was younger, I swore to myself that I would never listen to talk or news radio, like my Dad did. As far as I was concerned, radio was for music, unless you were old.
All through college, I listened exclusively to music. I had an ill-fated BMG membership then, and to this day, the majority of my CD collection is from the mid 90s. Fantastic for my listening selection, but an early example of my poor financial decision-making. I loved the art and lyrics sheets that came in the cases, the art on the discs themselves, and of course, the tunes.
And then came internet radio. I got in on this one early – on the ground floor, as they say. IPM Radio was streaming in RealAudio, because that was the only thing. I listened to as many broadcasts as possible, and attended and/or DJed as well. Pandora came around, Digitally Imported after that. My CD purchasing dropped off steeply as I could stream music at home, and listen to radio in the car.
Then I found podcasts. A multitude of shows, many of which centered on my interests, updated via RSS, so I’d get an episode delivered as soon as it was released. There were so many, and over the years, there have been more… and more… and more. Most of the time, this has made me gleeful. Recently, though, I’ve fallen behind. Like, a year behind. I was catching up with all the driving I’ve been doing between Lansing and Detroit, but then 2020 happened.
Driving was consolidated, and non-essential drives were rare. Work travel was entirely on pause. So, my trend of catching up fell back into falling behind.
One day, on my way to the laundromat, I was weighing weather I would listen to a podcast or dust off my favorite radio station, and it hit me – podcasts were my talk radio. Sure, there may be as much fiction in my list as non, but not one of them was music.
So, as I’m sure many do, I’ve become more like my father as I’ve gotten older, and I feel like I owe my younger self (and probably my Dad) an apology.