Sunday, December 02, 2018

Alternative Radio


UK radio stations on the whole are terrible.
Most FM stations are a complete waste of time. Radio 4 is an exception but only sometimes. AM is sparsely populated and so hit or miss as to be worth very little of my time. LW doesn't fare any better, RTE 252 is decent but reception is limited.

This is of course my opinion. Many people love listening to the same tunes on a roll interspersed with adverts. People like to phone into shows and give their opinion of the events of the day however irrelevant. They also like interacting via social media if only to listen back to what they've just typed. That's a little harsh but not wide of the mark.
What I'm looking for is educational material, in depth analysis and good investigative journalism. The BBC has this covered for the most part on Radio 4 but it seems to be dumbing itself down in recent years.
Radio 6 Music is OK most of the time when I have a digital radio nearby which tends to be only at home.

It's a sign of the times that we all want and to some extent expect personalised content. When I'm in the truck at night I listen to podcasts, occasionally Radio 4 or nothing. What I miss is the radio as a tool of exploration, of discovery, of surprise, shock or delight. At home I have so many radios that when one type runs out of options I switch to another and carry on the search. Even that's getting more difficult with digital noise deafening the bands.

What I needed in the truck for when the podcasts ran out, which they frequently do, was a scanner. I've spent these last 2 nights programming in frequencies to my new Uniden UBC125XLT. Scanners are great radios. Like fishing you prepare your rod, line and bait and then wait. Sometimes there's nothing to catch, other times you can be overwhelmed. The surprise element is always possible. The anticipation is probably the best part and if all else fails there's always aviation to keep you occupied. That's what the books behind the scanner are. One is a totally nerdy guide to Air Traffic Control for radio enthusiasts. The other is an official study guide for radio operation when learning to fly.
They're both probably a bit overkill but I do intend to understand what pilots are going on about when that's all there is to listen to.
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