For the last couple of weeks I’ve been taking part in something called “You Should Listen to Friday” on Twitter,where radio people highlight favourite pieces of audio. This week my pick is definitely Garth Mullins’ “End of the Dial“.
Broadcast on CBC’s Ideasfor World Radio Day, “End of the Dial” is like a loveletter to the golden age of radio… although it’s not clear if that’s in the past or the future. It also contains one of the loveliest descriptions of the power of radio I’ve heard. It’s transcribed below, but I suggest you listen to it (a fitting showcase of how much more powerful audio can be than the written text, sometimes).
Alone in a car, at the kitchen sink, or with earbuds holding back the noise of the city.
Or maybe lying awake across an endless, sleepless night. It’s just you and me.
I’m talking to you a few inches from the mic. A voice in your ear, keeping you company or maybe just occupying a fraction of your attention. Either way, thanks.
Sometimes we listen together and it feels like the entire community, or even the whole country is listening, too.
Maybe it’s the fall of a regime in part of the world that we’re from.
Maybe it’s a scandal tearing at the fabric of our own government.
Or maybe it’s the hockey game.
When radio is good, when it really, really works, we stop, we pull the car over, just to listen. We’re jolted out of whatever we’re doing and become totally hooked.
And sometimes, radio is the only voice in a cold apartment during a Christmas blackout.
It’s a lifeline in a flooded city.
You can listen to the full piece on Garth’s Soundcloud or get from the Ideas website or iTunes podcast. You can also read more about it on his website. But if you’re interested in radio, I highly recommend you set aside an hour, put on headphones, and have a listen.