In the small towns where I was raised, radio was the only source for song and story from the larger world.

I’d strain to pick a line of what was said on Radio Netherlands, but crackle was all I’d get. On Wednesdays, I’d finally succeed to tune in to His And Hers on which a Dutch-Canadian couple played requests from around the globe, joking and laughing through the hour (half-hour?). The music I’d recognize through the static, but what they spoke arrived unintelligible over low-fidelity AM waves. Still, I laughed when they laughed even if I couldn’t hear the funnies fully. My other favourites were The Play of the Week on BBC, aired on Sundays, and the Story of the Week. The radio-voices of distant foreigners sounded magical in my room. The sound that evokes the most nostalgia in me is Willis Conover’s Jazz-Hour on the Voice of America, which program came on in the evening, opening with Take the A Train. I wrote to Radio Australia once. Some weeks later I received mail with exotic stamps on it — from an Australian who’d heard my letter read on radio. I read her letter over and over but I failed to compose a reply. I couldn’t think of something to say about my town that would excite a foreigner.


Image: Unsplash, Alessandro Cerino