I listen to the radio by choice in two places: the car and the bathroom. The only station I listen to is Radio New Zealand National, though during the working year I find the intense focus on politics and current affairs grating.
Fortunately I hear only snatches though: the shower tends to drown out most of what’s on and car trips these days are brief. Any programming I really want to listen to, such as segments about Internet, computers, technology and science I download from the Radio NZ podcasts. They have a fine selection now.
I do wish I could also subscribe to the RNZ podcasts by topics, such as Internet or science, rather than subscribing to ‘programmes’ such as Nine to Noon and then downloading only the odd segment on science.
A curious thing happens in New Zealand between around 24 December and about 20 January each year: we all go on holiday. That means not only blessed relief from continuous political nit-picking and mud-slinging but also a complete change in all radio and TV programming.
On TV they interrupt new seasons of series such as The Closer or Bones, and replace them with either tired old movies or repeats of shows we’ve seen before. I guess they figure everyone’s outdoors and not watching TV anyway, so why bother?
I don’t watch a lot of TV these days, but this absence of anything at all worth watching encouraged me to finally haul out the DVDs and catch up on Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica (new to me). I’ve also embarked on watching again Babylon 5, still, in my opinion, one of the best sci-fi shows ever.
As for radio, at this time RNZ National turns into total and utter garbage. While the morning programme is OK, a few minutes at a time, the summer afternoon programme is truly awful.
The upside of this is that I’ve rediscovered Radio New Zealand Concert.
When I was younger, after discovering ‘classical’ music in my late teens, I listened to a lot of music. My favourites include cello, early music and ‘churchy’ music such as masses and passions. I’m not Christian, but as with hip-hop and rap I
listen to the music, not the song1 .
Now when I’m driving somewhere I catch snatches of opera, concertos, sonatas and other delights. It’s reminded me how much I enjoy listening to music. It’s sparked me to venture again into iPod playlists I’d forgotten I had.
Funds are tight just now, but once things free up I think I’ll buy some more classical music on iTunes: a spot of Bach’s St Matthew Passion or Magnificat is just the thing to lift the spirits on gloomy days.
Unfortunately I suspect the bathroom radio will stay on politics. While the car radio has stations stored on push buttons, the bathroom radio requires fiddly tuning, and my partner needs to listen to news and politics on account of her work.
1 Kosh to Talia Winters, Babylon 5, Deathwalker.