Music

Radio Programming in America and Abroad

American radio is in a lamentable state. There’s not much to listen to besides music, the news, and talk shows. Only NPR breaks the trend with more focus on the arts and culture. But even then programs consist largely of listener call-ins. There is rarely anything inspirational or about life. There is no radio theater.

The United Kingdom’s BBC features substantially more drama and discussion on the culture and the arts. On the other side of the world in Taiwan is another quality radio station: IC Broadcasting, where my aunt works.

I particularly appreciate IC’s daily weekday program 跟著音樂去旅行 (Traveling Along with the Music). In one hour host 黃介文 intersperses music with her thoughts on life. Each episode is usually themed around a particular artist, album, or musical era. The music selections range from Chinese, Japanese, and American pop to movie soundtracks and instrumental recordings.  Sometimes 介文 also interviews a singer or a composer. Whatever the program is, you’re bound to be pleasantly surprised, uplifted, and inspired. The diverse music selections and 介文’s sweet, soothing voice will leave you refreshed.

Today I found another of IC’s programs that is lacking in America: 今晚我可以讀詩 (Tonight I Can Read Poetry). This particular episode was about the poetry of John Keats. Although I couldn’t understand much of the literary discussion (which was in Mandarin), I could understand the English poems.  Dramatic readings of Keats’ poems backed by instrumental music makes poetry what it should be: a lyrical expression of the heart.

Is the absence of such programming in America due to an unappreciative audience or is it the fault of the radio stations? What would you want to listen to?

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