I've just spent a week on vacation with the family. It's good to get away...and more than I have in years I truly tried to leave work behind. In the past we have spent up to 6 weeks on the road in our home state of Washington. When on the road for that long of a stretch...it was almost mandatory that I bring my laptop and reading along and try to carve out some hours to write while the family went to the lake, or swimming, or whatever.
But, this year, with the length of our visit cut back drastically for a variety of reasons...the laptop was primarily brought so the kids could watch movies on the plane. And it truly was a chance to just unwind. (Although I did have to spend a little bit of time finishing my grades for T340).
One of the ways this trip was differrent than my previous ones back to WA is the fact that I barely listened to broadcast radio at all. Now, you may have to know me pretty well to understand how big a deal this is. We spent time in the town in which I grew up...Richland Washington. Listening to the radio there during the 1980s while in high school was one of the reasons why...during the summer before my senior year...I sent letters to all the General Managers and Program Directors in the Tri-Cities (of which Richland is one...the others being Kennewick and Pasco) asking for any opportunity to be a part of their station operations. I eventually got an "internship" of sorts at a no-longer-existing country station: KOTY-AM and KHWK-FM.
I recognize voices of disk jockeys in the Tri-Cities, still. Enjoy hearing the tweaks in formats and positioning statements. The same is true for the Spokane Market...where I worked in formats ranging from CHR to jazz to sports talk. And so, every trip back would include listening to hear what was going on in my old stomping grounds.
But, like I said, this trip was different. No long periods of listening. No listening at all, to speak of. Why? Two reasons that perhaps highlight why my students similarly report NO radio listening. The first was my ipod, and the podcasts that I've been diggin' recently like (The Business, This American Life, On the Media, Radio Lab, and Science Talk).
But, the primary reason for my lack of listening was The first was that the rental car had XM satellite radio. Although I was surprised that several of the stations had COMMERCIALS in them...I was certainly only a few clicks away from music in the vein of the mood I was in due to their alignment of channels by genre (if I was listening to 80s and didn't like a song, checking out what was on the 90s channel one click away usually sufficed. When Nashville** went to commercials...Highway 16 or US Country had something on it that would do nicely). I can only imagine that my listening would have skyrocketed on the talk stations if the family hadn't been in the car...and I probably would have imposed the sports-talk stations ON my family if it was NFL season, not baseball season.
So, there really wasn't any reason to impose myself to commercials...voice-tracked DJs...or songs that I didn't want to hear. Even the nostalgia of listening to stations from my past didn't over-ride the easy entertainment that new technologies allowed me.
** Interestingly, when I was getting links together for this blog, I went to XM's page...of course. The Nashville channel (channel 11)... which was the most irritating in stopping for STUPID national commercials for dating services or car insurance...isn't listed as an option on their website. Wonder why?