1920s-radioEver since I started driving to work, I started listening to the radio. A lot. I listen primarily for the traffic  reports (although, as a side note, I just want to mention that 680 News was absolutely useless earlier this week when the ramp off the 401 was closed and they didn’t bother to mention it to their faithful listeners, and I had to detour for ages…but anyway, moving on), but after the traffic report on the 1s, I switch back immediately to CBC Radio 1.

I used to avoid CBC 1 like the plague. CBC 2 was fine – it played “good” classical music (as opposed to “bad” classical music, naturally). But CBC 1? Yammering! Jabbering! And on topics that seriously didn’t interest me.

But I outgrew Mix 99.9, with its steady diet Billboard singles, and I grew tired of 102.1 The Edge, which was moderately less repetitive, but still had too many ads. Classical music, at the hour I drive into work, is absolutely out of the question. So one day, I tried CBC 1 again. And I absolutely loved it.

Yup, they still talk a lot. But it’s informative talking. Gone are the days where my finger would be semi-permanently poised over Scan – with few exceptions, I enjoy all their programs, and I now have a few favourites where I’ll tune in regularly, or I’ll sit in the car and finish listening, if schedule permits.  The Debaters, sarcastic, comedic debates on hot topics, is one.  Dispatches, an hourly program filled with global vignettes, is another.  And Q, the entertainment program!  Jian Ghomeshi interviewed Jodie Foster the other day, and I was so impressed with both the interviewer and Jodie Foster, who was respectfully but persistently pressed about the movie The Beaver with Mel Gibson, and who remained a totally classy, well-spoken woman.

One benefit from listening to CBC 1 that I didn’t expect is that now, I feel more connected to my fellow Canadians. Although there’s naturally a local spin on some of the stories, the topics are broad and varied, and especially during the call-in programs, with callers from all over the country, I can’t help but be reminded that I’m one of many who are listening, responding, thinking and engaging at the same time. I never get that feeling with TV.

But the biggest, by far the best advantage to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation? It’s publicly funded. Which means no ads. Ever. (Well, except during national elections. Which now won’t happen for another four years.)

Do you listen to public radio, if you listen to the radio at all? Where do you usually do your radio listening?

– Jean AAR