Getting older is a crazy thing. Our interests and habits change or grow (however you look at it) as the years pass by one, after another. It’s inevitable, right? Change is necessary after all. I remember in my teens back in the mid 90’s getting into a car with my friend John. His dad was driving and although I thought he was old and stuffy (at the time) he was also one of the smartest and most logical men I have ever known.
His dad would, more often than not listen to NPR and seemingly Fresh Air was always on. I thought it boring at the time. The sounds of the man’s voice droning on and on in nearly monotone sounds made me want to sleep. For years I refused, for irrational reasons, to listen to talk radio. I was a music, music, and more music guy. I suppose I justified it at one point as making me old beyond my years. Then in my mid-twenties, there was (and I’m embarrassed to say this) a stint where I listened to Fox news radio. I listened to people like Shawn Hannity, that Rush guy and that other guy that’s no longer with Fox News. I am glad that’s where it stopped and even gladder I realized the insanity that I was listening too. What can I say, it was a stage where the leftovers of a somewhat conservative upbringing were still in my brain.
And that’s where it stopped for a few years unless I turned into a late-night radio show about aliens and other supposed conspiracies going on around us. I was back to music and no news other than what I read in the paper or online (as that ability got bigger). I’d say about 5 years ago I started listening to sports radio. Since sports is one of my other minor interests it seemed a good fit. It started with one local sports station and then eventually our ESPN affiliate. I was good with that. Or was I really good with that?
About two years ago I started listening occasionally to something I never expected in my entire life. NPR on Michigan Public Radio.
Eventually, I was hooked for many reasons and all of which I won’t explain. It wasn’t just the news they told though but the way told the news. The way they, related it to me and my life and explained it in depth. NPR and Michigan Radio made me look at things objectively and critically. They didn’t just gloss over something in 2 minutes like one might see on the evening news but put the time and effort into their stories and reporting that really made me get it. Through Michigan Public Radio I began listening to shows like The Moth Radio Hour, Story Corps, 1A, Ted Talk Radio, On Point, Science Friday (One of my personal favorites), Here and Now, Snap Judgement and Stateside among many others. It’s opened my eyes to international, national and local issues that I had been ignoring, didn’t fully understand or in years past, just didn’t care to. Also, a lot of the things you hear on NPR aren’t even talked about on the local or national nightly news. I’ve never really gotten into the podcast thing but I’m a little hooked now. (I’ve linked a couple of favorite recent stories and podcasts so you can see what I mean). Now I listen to NPR/Michigan Radio most of the time when I’m at work. I’d say 80% of the time my local NPR/Michigan radio station (104.1) is on. Sure, I still listen to music but how many times do I need to hear Justin Beiber, Journey or Bruno Mars before I have a meltdown?
Maybe I’ve gotten to the point in life where I wanted more than a 30-second sound/video clip or a two-minute-long glossed-over story on the evening news that gives me no real information or just one side.
Maybe I’ve gotten tired of the talking heads screaming at each other and talking over callers instead of informing people.
Maybe I want relatively unbiased news without the fear factor, scare tactics and click bate headlines.
Maybe I like actual journalism….ya know!
Maybe I just want information and news with…substance.
Maybe I just want to hear about things that actually matter to me and be educated on the issues that should matter to me.
Maybe I should have listened to my friend’s dad twenty something years ago.
At 38 years old, it’s probably about time I guess.
**If you haven’t listened to NPR before (or haven’t in a long time) give it a shot for a whole day as opposed to your normal news station. Fridays and Saturdays are my favorite days since they give a nice recap and I enjoy the weekend shows. I guarantee you will hear some amazing stories that you won’t hear anywhere else.**