Radio (A Reflection and an Event)

Before I start to talk about Luke Moravec and Bill Siemering, who visited the University of Minnesota Duluth on Zoom Wednesday afternoon, I want to talk a little bit about why I love radio so much.

  •  When I was in my twenties, I worked at a nursing home. It was one of the best jobs of my life, insofar as everything I did, nearly, was loved and appreciated by the people I did it for, mostly because I didn’t act like I was unhappy, or even resented, doing it. But I learned something surprising while there. I am a very visual person. Despite (or perhaps because of) my color-blindness, I love art, I love comics — I could spend all day staring at artworks that I can’t entirely discern, at least not the way you do. So I always thought that the worst possible thing to happen to me, as I aged, would be to lose my sight. But as I observed the residents, it became clear to me that the residents who lost their sight were still social and engaged. It was the loss of hearing that meant loneliness, as people soon stopped trying to communicate with you.
  • I have a hard time falling asleep, and two things that help me fall asleep are human voices (e.g., podcasts) and autonomous sensory meridian response. I even, sometimes, get the tingles from ASMR — but usually visually stimulated. Sound is rest and sound is energy, to me. Similarly, when I want to move, when I want to haul these 300 pounds anywhere, a beat is all I need.
  • Finally, all of this love of voice and sound, no doubt, is a result of a childhood immersed in radio. Every Saturday, listening to CarTalk, despite the fact that I did not know how to drive, then Michael Feldman’s Whadya Know. (A highlight of my adult life was seeing his performance live at the Monona Terrace.). At night, I listened to Old Time Radio from Chicago (because AM radio carried so much farther at night).

All of which to say, a significant part of who I am as a human, a teacher, a writer, a partner, a friend, a son, is shaped by listening to disembodied voices.

So I was super excited to host an event with Luke Moravec of 103.3 The North FM and the founder of Public Radio, too, Bill Siemering. Bill was charming and Luke was engaged.

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