It’s been a week since we’ve been completely cut off from the world: no cell phone, no Internet, no news. Four or five times a day I listen to the weather as broadcast by Chris Parker or the Coast Guard, and I spend what seems like hours scanning the radio dial looking for news. Of anything. Anywhere. I can always find religious stations broadcasting clear-as-a-bell entreaties to repent but I can’t find NPR or the Beeb.
Years ago I had my trusty Sony ICF-2010 shortwave receiver in the kitchen of our house and listened nearly every day to BBC World Service programming. Then they decided they didn’t need to broadcast to North America on shortwave because most people could listen to the online stream. A great hullabaloo ensued with petitions and letter-writing campaigns, of which I was a part, but the decision was made and now there are no shortwave frequencies in North America where you can find World Service. Armed Forces Network rebroadcasts some NPR programs on shortwave but I’ve been unable so far to tune anything in.
Imagine — especially if you are news junkies like we are — being so out of touch with what’s going on in the world. It’s torture!
This morning I was a little early sticking the earbuds in for Chris Parker’s 6:30am weather report so I scanned the regular AM dial just ’cause. Eureka! There was a garbled voice in English and I focused my whole attention on fine-tuning the signal. What joy, followed by disappointment, to find it was Howard Stern. I had a readable signal for about a minute during which I learned that Margaret Thatcher’s funeral is today and someone bombed the Boston Marathon. Holy cow! Then the signal disappeared and I couldn’t find another signal again. Rats!
Damn you, BBC.