While being in the US I have noticed that radio isn’t a huge ‘go to’ for people of all ages. When presenting a talk on British media I mentioned that radio was a largely listened form of media but thousands of people across the UK – some of the students here were shocked at this and deemed radio a ‘thing of the past’.
I am a huge radio fan and always have it playing in the background whenever I am in my home and whenever I am in my car- I like the realness of radio and the great benefits it has to society as it can deliver information fast to almost anywhere you stand on earth!
I can tell why they would think that, after listening to NPR (National Public Radio) stations All Things Considered and Morning Edition.
I listened to these shows with an open mind, as I am new to NPR, for around two hours online and was able to choose from a range of different topics within the station.
I am a BBC Radio listener at home and sometimes listen online while I have been in the states. Here I have a wide range of different types of separate stations such as World Service, Asian Radio, R and B and Hip Hop, Radio 1 which is chart music and chat, Radio 2 for the older generation, Radio 4 which has many plays and culture interview and many more.
The first thing I noticed about NPR is that it is very like World Service due to the high editing. The NPR stations I listened to were clean cut, clear, had good sound clips, had great interviews with well thought out questions, some nice relaxing clips of music and very valuable sources for each topic.
Although I do not listen to this type of radio a lot it is refreshing to hear no advertisements, no chart music and no loud overly exaggerated personalities…it’s almost like a break away from the reality of common radio which has taken on a more entertainment form than educational.
I can see myself listening to NPR on a Sunday afternoon while reading the paper with a hot cup of tea by my side – easy listening, easy on the ears with the added value of learning something!
While listening to Around the Nation I came across the story “Sandy Made Taking Out Garbage in N.Y. More Heroic” by Kathleen Horan.
This story package was excellent- it was short being only three minutes long but in this time it took you on a trip of how the New York City Sanitation Department is living in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The subject of the story, veteran sanitation employee Ed Shelvin, gave some very valuable quotes which were edited into Horan’s descriptions of the area and the man himself.
Sound clips of trash vehicles disposing and picking up garbage played constantly throughout the story with particular emphasis and some points.
The story then went on to talk to the Deputy Chief of the NY Sanitation Department which gave the story what I call ‘meat’ because this was one of the best people you could have spoken to regarding this subject. Overall this story was a great personalized experience of the hard work garbage men were putting in after Hurricane Sandy.
Another great story I heard on Around the Nation was “Heidi: The Little Girl Who Changed Football Forever.” This story had great sound clips of Heidi song from the movie which played, by mistake, over the end of at a football game in 1968. Clips were of the game, audience, Heidi’s song were all played throughout the story. I found that this story was a little more light-hearted where the hosts even laughed with each other while reading the script.
Overall I think that both All Things Considered and Morning Edition on NPR are very formal and old fashioned styles of radio stations, something I can see older rich people listening to in their townhouses. It is very unnatural because it is highly edited but this can be a good thing also because you are constantly engaged as every sentence means something. It is old fashioned because of the tone of the speakers, the formality of the shows and the content which aims at an older generation.
I enjoyed listening to NPR, I don’t think that I could listen to it daily but it is a nice change from the modernized waves that flood in our radios today.