Longtime regulars to the Red Barn know that I love radio, especially when it involves classical music. Look, I was an avid listener to “educational stations” even before National Public Radio emerged, dialing in marginal ten-watt FM signals from Antioch College or the AM daylight offerings of WOSU from Ohio State University, both of them static laden. And then there was WJR in Detroit, a high-power, clear-channel voice with its own huge staff that included Karl Haas and his “Adventures in Good Music” hour in the morning as well as the Saturday afternoon Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, unless those came during a Redwings hockey game.
Later, living in the interior desert of Washington state, I relied on nighttime AM broadcasts from San Francisco and Calgary, Alberta, not all of it classical. I do remember the Canadian cohosts of one country music show expressing their amazement after a visit to Nashville that folks down there really did speak with “those” accents.
As for what I was saying about static? You came to live with it as part of the show.
Flash ahead, then, to today, when I’m living at the easternmost fringe of the USA. Most of my listening has come from streaming non-commercial stations in Boston and New York or Maine Public Classical. And then, for Christmas, my family gifted me with a Bose sound system to replace my broken components stereo.
As I loaded its radio presets, my otherwise savvy elder daughter confessed her ignorance of AM radio. It ain’t what was, for sure, no matter how much I used to fume at the static resulting when elderly cars came down the street.
Two of the six FM stations I’ve set the Bose to are Canadian Broadcasting Corporation outlets in St. John, New Brunswick, a distance up Fundy Bay from us. I am surprised how clearly their signals come in.
Like National Public Radio in the United States, the CBC is publicly funded and non-commercial. Its main network is primarily news, public affairs, and other talk, while a second is all-music, including classical during the daytime hours.
We’re finding both channels to be refreshing and exceptionally well done.
New York and Washington aren’t the center of their news coverage, for one thing. And the music includes a hefty number of Canadian voices, including a program of contemporary Indigenous music that follows the Metropolitan Opera on Saturdays – the latter with its own host working around what we get in the U.S.
Well, as announcers used to say on TV and radio during the station breaks, “Please stay tuned.”
And we will. There are many varied tastes in this household to match.