Stale Radio Air

Stale Radio Air

I was really missing my Pocket PC on the drive home tonight. Not just because it’s worth a chunk of change, but because since I brought it home, I’ve stopped listening to AM radio on my twice-a-day hourly commute and during lunch.

I used to get more than two hours of talk radio piped into my cranium on a daily basis. (Not recommended for mental health, or accurate world views. You start to really believe you could refinance your home and get a loan for zero interest, that online cash advance could get you out of a tight spot, that bankruptcy might actually be a way to get ahead and will make you wonder can bailiffs enter your home if you play by the rules? That the government is just waiting to throw money at me, that lasik eye-surgery is so easy any monkey can do it for peanuts, that I desperately need a heart checkup—now, that hair transplants will make me irresistibly sexy [natch, I already am!], and that technical college will solve all my unemployment woes.)

Let’s see, in the morning there was either Spike O’Dell on WGN, or maybe Kathy and Judy. If I was lucky I’d catch Renewing Your Mind with the ever-impressive R.C. Sproul. If nothing interested me I could always catch the never-ending news reads on the local all-news station. At lunch I’d catch as much as I could stomach of Rush Limbaugh … that’s my clever dieting trick. I’m conservative, but even a good conservative can only take so much of the great Maha Rushie. If I snuck out of the office late for lunch I might catch the beginning of WLS’s Roe Conn and Garry Meyer program—at least, that was until they refused to renew Garry’s contract in 2004. Roe, by himself, was a lot less interesting.

In the evenings I would catch some Sean Hannity until I eventually got sick of him, too. My soul became overburdened with the constant conservative angst—as much as I might agree with Hannity. I can only take so much of the diatribe. The real blessing was occasionally catching Milt Rosenberg on WGN with his Extension 720 program. Wow, what an erudite and interesting discussion he always has with his guests. Though I do tire of Milt’s unconscious pedantry from time to time. Yes, Milt. You sprechen ze German. Thanks. (To Milt’s credit, he’s brilliantly overeducated—just the sort of guy I wish I had the academic spunk to be. My thinly veiled jealously is … well … only thinly veiled.)

But now that I’ve been catching podcasts non stop for several months now (ITConversations galore, First Crack with Garrick Van Buren, Stand to Reason with Greg Koukle, WGBH’s Morning Stories, Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code, sermons from and and much, much, more), when I return to the talk radio air waves I find much of it vapid. The hosts are so often “voice” talent with little ability to think clearly on the things that really interest me. The brightest jewels of the air wave firmament I’ve found around here are R.C. Sproul and Milt Rosenberg. Even Roe Conn has moments of lucidity and brilliance (while he’s being funny, no less). But aside from Extension 720, those aren’t talk shows. And neither, really, are podcasts. (Fortunately, I can download Extension 720, or at least record it while it’s streaming and listen later. Maybe, someday, WGN will grok podcasts and start offering feeds. One can hope.)

[Update: you can catch Extension 720 online archives here, and podcast show-clips here. Not as satisfying as the full meal, which is why I use RadioTime to record the stream every night and listen to it sped up 45% faster on my re-found PocketPC. –Rich]

I listened to one fellow tonight, who had a beautiful, rumbly, bass voice who really seemed clueless on every discussion. On the surface he was smooth, so smooth. But he, the host contributed nothing to the dialog. And, of course, I had to suffer through ten minutes of commercial time for every three minutes of talk show time.


I want my Pocket PC back.


[tags]BlogRodent, radio, am-radio, podcasts, roe-conn, milt-rosenberg, extension-720, milts-file, stand-to-reason, renewing-your-mind, rc-sproul, greg-koukle, itconversations, morning-stories, radiotime-network, pocketpc, talk-shows[/tags]

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