Back in youth...I'm talking the 60's and 70's...in small town rural Canada, the height of personal entertainment was the radio.
We would listen to our old radio in the kitchen a lot, but mostly it was turned on to 730 CKDM to listen to Bernie Basaraba "The Voice of the Kings" as he commentated the local hockey team who both of my brothers each Captained at one point or another.
My social life centered on watching the games live when I was old enough to walk to the arena myself, but when I was younger (or older but babysitting my sister) listening to the game on the radio was pretty damn exciting! Games and the local radio station playlist was all we got, except on a cloudless night when we could tap into a Winnipeg station now and then. Scratchy, staticky signals weaker than a preacher's whiskey.
But those big radios were permanent fixtures in most homes, like ours in a nook in the kitchen above the counter, so privacy for listening alone was impossible.
So, when I was given a small, hand held transistor radio, I was crazy happy! It made an indelible mark in my childhood. I listened to it pressed close to my ear so often, I'm sure you can still see its imprint some 50 years later.
I went to bed every night with that transistor radio next to my head on the pillow, or if my sister complained (we slept two to a bed in our big family) I turned down the volume to a ghost's whisper and slept with it under my ear. I learned to contort my body so my full upper-weight was on my arms under the pillow and the hard plastic radio was less painful under my head.
That must be a mannequin's hand holding the radio pictured below because, trust me, 10 minutes in that position, your hand would we numb for life.
It wasn't until I was about 19 yrs old (1979) when the Sony Walkman came out that earphones/headphones were common. There may have been something similar for transistor radios before that, but not in our house. None of that fancy stuff for us.... *eye roll*
When I happen to catch an old tune on the radio now, it immediately sends me back to my room at home. I can smell Mom's honey-dipped donuts cooling on the rack; I hear the boys arguing out back, fighting over who has to mow the lawn; and I see my posters of Donny Osmond plastered on my wall like love-sick, teeny-bop wallpaper.
Some of those early tunes are:
by Melanie & The Edwin Hawkins Singers:
Three Dog Night
Mama Told Me Not To Come:
Band of Gold:
The Guess Who
I was so madly in love with Canadian singer Burton Cummings from The Guess Who, I told everyone my first baby was our Love Child. My husband at the time just smiled and let me have my fun. *smile*
So...the point of this post, finally, is to share with you an app I found called RADIO GARDEN. It's a mobile or webb app actually and it's bloody amazing! And it's FREE whether it be on your phone or computer!
"From the (click link in blue letters) Radio Garden app site on the Google Play Store ““
I just LOVE it! Sure, I have access to tons of music, but nothing beats listening to music (or programs of all sorts!) on live radio from ANYWHERE in the world, 27/7! You can be your own DJ!
And it looks SO cool. When you turn on the app, an animated planet Earth comes on your screen and it rotates and takes a few seconds for the bright green dots (the 'seeds' ) to get planted...which only means it's getting populated with the stations for you to use...
Then you can scroll around the world immediately listening to what looks like hundreds of thousands of radio stations playing LIVE in their towns and cities globally. You can type in the city or town etc...where you wish to listen, or look randomly, like I usually do, and listen to one of a gazillion stations in Brazil ...
...or the USA, or Germany, Iceland, Poland, Sicily...anywhere! I like to find a lone wee green dot in the middle of the ocean on an island somewhere remote and listen in on what some lonely Lighthouse Keeper in may be listening to...
I can't tell you the thrill I got the first time I played with that radio app. To listen to CKDM again in my hometown...
....or to the music my daughter may be listening to in Edmonton, or the news in German my sister-in-law listens to in her little village in Germany...or my grandchildren in Australia...it was mind-blowing!
I have travelled extensively in my life and it was just so beautiful to sit in my comfy chair outside in the sun last summer, close my eyes and listen to some tunes out of Jamaica, remembering the feel of warm sand at my feet and an ice cold Red Stripe beer at my fingertips. I could almost smell the unmistakeable mix of salt water and Caribbean blooms. Then, when I grew restless for maybe a talk-show in a language I knew nothing about, I'd spin over to Rome and find a channel that had some that passionate Italian spice I heard while visiting the Vatican in 2016... so many incredible memories!
And finally, I often seek out a radio station in Ukraine and wonder if it's the music I'd be listening to today had my grandparents not taken a leap of faith and left the Motherland for Canada.
That always gives me the shivers.
I hope you find some pleasure in this new technology and awesome new means to 'travel' the world.