Listening to an old radio

The old way to hear the world.

I was 12 years old, in early days of analog FM broadcasts, when I bought my first component radio. Many nights were spent tuning in different stations, getting different viewpoints.

My favorite: KPPC, broadcasting from high above the Los Angeles basin. Billing itself counterculture and playing long full album-side non-conformist tracks, it was “underground” music.

Those were different days, or so I thought, until a friend sent me a link to Radio Garden. Launched in December 2016, this publicly funded website hooks up with over 8000 radio station URLs around the globe. It turns out many of these “stations” are “underground” as well.

Tuning into Radio.Garden is as easy as that analog radio dial. Even the crackle and hum between stations is familiar. The difference is just a mouse drag across the screen is the only thing needed to transport my ears halfway around the world.

On my first spin the cursor came to rest on Egypt and a site calling itself the “Underground” voice of Alexandria. Only in that part of the world, “underground” is the old-timey mainstream conformist music of the 50’s and 60’s here in the US – Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin.

I take another spin and the cursor stops on a “broadcast” from Moscow. This outlet focuses on gay men and, last time I checked anyway, Russia’s a country were homosexuality is legal although it exists largely under the surface.

Using this app I’ve realized all over again that traveling, even virtually, is highly enlightening. This software – a way through great music and talk to gain a broader perspective of cultures with which we share this globe – is an essential tool needed to bond us together.

For more about Radio.Garden

Author: Steve Smith

Steve Smith inherited the wanderlust and has always needed to see what’s around the next corner. In his college years he enjoyed many memorable (and cheap) forays into Mexico sleeping under the stars, but today that’s all changed. Since 2006 he’s contributed stories and photographs to the digital magazine In The Know Traveler, and in 2014 he assumed an associate editor role with the same. Published both in digital and print formats, his international assignments have taken him to the Middle East, Asia, North/Latin/South America, Europe, and the Caribbean. His Facebook page (Steve’s Roadtrippin’ Travels) spotlights both his photography and how his global road travels intersect with digital storytelling using dynamic space-age mapping technology.

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  1. You say it was launched in December 2017? I’m a time traveler then – it is working for me today in 11 months before that.

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    • Slip of the finger I guess – thanks for pointing this out…

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