Radio on fire

February 20, 2023 | Blog

Watercolour drawing of a radio on fire.
Burn baby burn.

Baby your mind is a radio

Three years ago I became so frustrated trying to streaming music from my iPhone to the Apple TV that I gave up entirely and bought a radio.

Initially it was the spotty nature of the streaming itself – sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t – and it was making me angry when I was supposed to be chill and happy. I just wanted to listen to some tunes in the morning and start my day in a positive space. But instead, it was making me miserable.

Then my being angry with inanimate tech made me angry with myself, and it was a whole spiral thing that was just not good, man.

In additional to all that, the tv had become the central part of the home and I really didn’t like that. I despised that it was on all the time, even just to play music. I hated that all the furniture was pointed at it. I wanted the tv turned off when we weren’t watching it. I wanted a simpler life. I wanted a radio.

I bought the Tivoli Audio Model One in walnut. Not the cheapest radio for sure, but it was very pretty, and the visual and interaction design appealed to me. It’s currently one of my favourite things.

Radio is what it is. It can be repetitive, and the DJs aren’t always great. But we have a tolerable alt rock station in Ottawa, plus CBC for the other times. Or when we’re feeling saucy we’ll tune in something from Quebec.

We also continue to stream a lot of music. The services and tech used to stream has changed and improved over the last few years, and I’m fairly certain the issues that led me to buy a radio are no longer issues. All the new music I listen to comes from streaming, or YouTube. In the same way that ebooks didn’t kill the publishing industry, streaming hasn’t killed analog radio. There is a time and place for all things. The mistake we often make is thinking we must replace working systems for new ones just because they are new. We don’t need to, and maybe even shouldn’t. There is a balance, a happy space where the new and the familiar coexist.

Plus, did I mention this radio is one of my favourite things? A Braun analog alarm clock is another. But I don’t have a painting of that, so you don’t get a story.

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