love-hate relationships. i think we all have at least one. in my case, the word "radio" comes to mind. i've drifted between loving and hating radio for at least fifteen years, beginning with love and my little blue tape deck stereo, dutifully helping me record casey kasem's sunday broadcast of american top 40. the parade of pop songs, played and rewound and played again and again, and again, showcased the voices along the spectrum of divas to darker thinkers; mary j. blige, janet jackson, michael stipe and kurt cobain were a few of those vocal companions whose dependable company i counted on. i hadn't yet succumbed to snobby attitudes shadowed with guilty pleasures--radio-listening was all about equal opportunity for the mainstream. a few years later, growing another inch and growing tired of mariah carey, classical radio arrived on the scene, somehow managing to win my loyalty, leaving poor casey to lose another listener. it was the beginning of my descent down the slippery slope into aforesaid snootiness.
not long after, leaving home to accrue college credits, the wider selection of stations was a wonder to me for the first year. but as semesters started settling into the past, resignation settled into my radio-directed attitude. the little blossom of interesting internet radio was the only thing casting color in the midst of gray, blah, local college radio and the monopolized city stations. classic rock was still okay for the car, but clearchannel's clinch on play lists was downright depressing.
living in new york served only to solidify the then-nascent opinion. college stations with freedom, neighborhood broadcasts and npr aside, big apple radio is in a bad way--the most diverse city in the world has the most homogeneous radio scene in the universe. i take a lot of pleasure in being petty and slathering blame on the clearchannel company. it's not a very classy way to complain, but i don't feel too much remorse about it, either.
this isn't a simple hate story, though, so let's get back to the love. in mexico, i've found it comes easily. i'm smitten with IMER. the instituto mexicano de la radio is both clever and correct when playing with its initials, transforming them into inteligente manera de escuchar radio, or "intelligent way of listening to radio." with a number of stations in the capital and satellites in the states, the group has developed niches for different listening tastes, incorporating news, music and conversations into their daily offerings. each station is guaranteed play list independence. they also sponsor a slough of great concerts. the programs of horizonte, reactor and opus didn't have a hard time consoling me over the loss of my ipod library. its not npr, but it makes up for it with a lot more music. and free books.
patricio and had the radio tuned to horizonte last week, deciding to email the station in an attempt to win a story collection, the subject of the show's discussion. the stars were aligned just for us. we went to coyoacán to pick up our prize yesterday afternoon. a slim volume of comical stories, fact mixed with fiction, playfully illustrated, and taking place in the state of chiapas, i finished reading it by the time we got home. short and sweet. i guess i'll have to dig around the shelves for something more to read on the plane tomorrow.
we're flying together for the first time, leaving mexico city behind for ten days of a self-determined spring break with stateside family. time in front of a computer occupies very little of the agenda; i'll have to beg your pardon for the dead airtime here.
interim suggestion: david byrne radio