So I’ve been noticing a funny trend in my radio listening experience over the past few years.
When I was little, the radio was my gateway to music. My parents always had a Christian station on the radio because that is friendly to the ears of a child and because that is the faith environment that I grew up in. Needless to say, I heard my fair share of Christian hymns, pop, and rock form those stations and became pretty well versed in it.
Skip to College. This is what I would like to call my “Education in Secular Music 101.” Now, I don’t want you to think that I hadn’t heard ANY secular music when I was growing up. My mom loved The Beatles, Barry Manilow, and my Dad loved Chicago, Eric Clapton, and The Eagles. It’s not like I was sheltered in my home of DC Talk and Third Day for hours on end. But still, Christian music was the majority of the music I listened to. So in college, my good friend Dan Prins opened my eyes to the world of Classic Rock. I was in love. This music was raw, expressive, and dangerous. I loved it. Bands like Led Zeppelin, ACDC, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, and Boston became dormroom common names by the end of the first semester. Dan also introduced me to folk music, blues, and guitar magicians. As a result, I listened to ALL the Classic Rock stations in the Grand Rapids area while in the car.
Fast forward to more present times. I still like listening to Christian radio, because it feels like home, and the artists aren’t telling me to have sex in every other song. (I had a pop radio phase and that got old pretty fast.) But, I would also frequent other stations for different music, like Classic Rock and even the Classical Music stations when I need a peaceful melody to grace my ears. But this is where it starts to get interesting….
Within the past two years, I have been listening to more and more National Public Radio, or NPR. Being a graduate student, it is hard to find time to read a paper, or watch news on the TV anymore. The interest has waned and fizzed out. In the past two years, I have SERIOUSLY enjoyed the amount of knowledge and general, international interest that I have gained from a very popular, but seriously underrated radion station. Sure they sometimes feature pieces that I could care less about, but those are few and far between.
NPR features stories about stuff that you have never even heard about, or before cared about. Their motto is, “NPR, Where you learn something new everyday.” And seriously, they don’t disappoint. I’m sure my college self over 6 years ago would be looking at me like I have sold out and lost my mind. Like I had grown up and forgot about the wild and crazy times of CLASSSSIC ROCKKK!!!!!! [I’m picturing Jack Black from School of Rock for some reason] Hahaha, well, no. I haven’t forgotten, and it is still very much apart of me to this day. And yet, NPR has enriched me in countless ways in the past few years.
I can’t tell you about how many international and domestic issues that I have been made aware of and have researched on account of reports heard on NPR. They talk about books, music, science, politics, world issues, controversial issues, religion, biology, astronomy, theater, food, home & life…seriously, you name it. At night they feature World Cafe, a place where unknown musicians have a spotlight to feature their music to a larger audience. I am more connected to what is going on than I have been in many many years. And still….I can’t help but laugh when I look at my “listening to radio timeline,” where I’ve been and where I am today.
I urge you to check it out for more than three days to see what I am raving about. If anything, you will learn three days of new things that you never thought you’d hear about. And for that, you are doing your brain a service.