to give up cable about four months ago. At first, I thought I wouldnt
be able to do without it for even a month. After all, what would I
do without Lifetime Televisions Sunday night lineup? I knew
Id miss spying on the women doctors of Strong Medicine.
I wouldnt have a clue how their love lives were going, whether
their kids had survived another Sunday or whether someone had gotten
promoted or got into some kind of trouble.
I also thought I might miss something big on MTVs Making
of the Band 2. Maybe one of those fledgling rappers would quit
the band while I wasnt watching or two of the members would
fall in love. Maybe P. Diddy would have a meltdown in front of the
cameras and I wouldnt get to see it.
There were also the more educational cable shows like those on C-Span
and C-Span 2 that Id miss. What if Toni Morrison appeared on
C-Span 2 before I reconnected to cable?
I know there are more important things in the world than entertainment.
I know people are dying all over the world, U.S. troops are still
in Iraq and the U.S. economy is unstable. But after working all day,
I still want to relax and TV used to be the way I relaxed. So I was
a bit concerned that the regular networks and PBS would provide enough
entertainment or information to relax by.
However, I discovered something that made me more content about the
change. I discovered a wealth of audio programs available on the Internet.
I discovered that many public radio stations and community radio stations
have audio archives that I can listen to anytime for free.
I discovered that KPFAs Richard Wolinsky interviews writers
great and small for a show called Cover To Cover (http://www.kpfa.org/archives/archives.php?id=6).
I also discovered WPS1s Conversations with Writers
Continued (www.wps1.org) with
host Charles Ruas and KPCCs Air Talk (http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk)
with Larry Mantle.
The thing I like most about listening to Internet shows is that I
can identify a subject I want to hear about and then search for it.
And I usually find audio archives about the topic somewhere online.
With cable and regular TV, I just had to eat what I was fed.
I also like the idea of discovering vintage recordings of interviews
with writers or musicians who are no longer alive.
Didnt you realize there was a lot of information out there?
a friend asked.
Yes. But I had no idea of the quality of so much of the information,
specifically audio files. I had no idea that I could regularly spend
a half hour listening to the thoughts of people like James Baldwin
or Langston Hughes.
After listening to all those interviews and music I'd never heard,
I began to think about how absolutely wonderful and under appreciated
all kinds of artists are. What a drab world this would be without
music, paintings and literature. The arts are as common as the ground
we walk on, but we take them as much for granted as we do cement and
limestone. Unfortunately, I had tuned out when I was tuned in to cable.
I hadnt sought alternatives avenues for the enlightened programming
thats still too rare on television in general.
Internet radio renewed my appreciation of the arts and artists of
all flavors. It also helped me appreciate the people who work to make
this information available to the haves and the have-nots. (By the
way, these programs do accept donations, if youre interested.)
So this have-little has decided to continue a steady diet of public
and community radio programs online, even after the cable TV is reconnected.
Deborah Young can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or publisher_editEKC@kcactive.com.