HOME ARCHIVE 2018

Some of my discoveries while radio dial-hopping worldwide

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I was worldwide radio dial-hopping the other day, looking for some different music styles, but instead caught the news, which led with a story from the United States.

The station was in Europe, and I picked it up on my cell phone with the TuneIn app. There are other apps like this. I just happen to use this one.

They all let you listen to radio stations all over the world. It still amazes me how this can be done, even though I understand how it works.

I was in the mood for some Austrian light retro pop (I know, it’s not on your bucket list.) and found a couple of stations in Vienna and Tyrol. In between the German language songs, they mixed in an ample amount of American music, like every second song. It’s good to know that we’re still the top exporters of entertainment products around the world.

I was working out in the gym the other day and tuned into the news on a radio station in Budapest. I just happened on it and started listening. What I was really looking for was light retro pop, but at that particular time, the station was broadcasting news at the top of the hour.

The top story was the northeast blizzard and flooding in the U.S. The second item was Michael Wolf’s book “Fire and Fury,” and President Trump’s reaction. The third story involved something else about the U.S., and then they started to run local stories.

Then I tuned into a Spanish station. You guessed it - light retro Spanish pop. It was soothing to my ears, although my understanding of the words is limited. I’m getting there, but learning a language is slow and tedious, no matter what those ads for Babbel say.

In between the songs, I could make out some names, all American singers, and then they started with the news and lost me completely. But I did hear President Trump’s name mentioned a few times. A year from now I’ll be better at this.

I wish now that in my younger days I would have kept on learning languages in my spare time. All you high school kids who are reading this column, keep perfecting your Spanish past high school, and then jump into another language. You’ll thank me for it much later when you’re old and the languages help keep your brain fresh and young. It’s exercise for the mind.

I really like this instant access to any type of radio station all over the world. In the days when we didn’t have the Internet, each time I went to a country, I took a cassette player-recorder with me and taped the local radio programs.

When I returned to the U.S., I replayed them over and over. It made me feel a little like I was still there. I still have some of those tapes, but haven’t touched them since I have been able to tune in a local station anytime I want.

And each time I played it back, I noticed something that I missed previously. Then I played it back so often that I just about had the whole thing memorized. That’s when the tape went in the closet.

Many of us still say that we tape a show or a song, but we really don’t tape things anymore. We record them digitally. The old cassette tape is long gone, except for nostalgic purposes.

Jumping around radio stations in countries where I sort of know the language, it amazes me how they are hung up on what we do here. When a hurricane hits here, it’s big news there. When we get into a political squabble of sorts, it leads the news around the world.

The Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game, just to name a few, are big items of interest, even though we don’t return the favor by supporting professional soccer very much.

So, thanks to TuneIn and the other apps, we are even more interconnected, and can country-hop all over the radio dial.

Let’s see, which station in Sweden has some light retro pop music?

I don’t know the language, but like the sound. Wait, they’re doing the news. Why not?