I Heard it on the Internet
January 4, 2011
About a thousand years ago, when I first came to Thailand, the only way we could get news broadcasts in English, from a western perspective, was by shortwave radio. You had to wade through U.S. Armed Forces Radio, and lots of religious fundamentalist preachers, and the exquisitely pronounced English of Radio China, and finally wind up tuned in to the BBC world service, or the English broadcasts of Voice of America. The world of international radio has changed a lot since those days.
I still have my old short wave radio but it is in some bottom drawer accumulating dust now. I now listen to international broadcasts on the Internet. I don’t miss the hissing and crackle of the shortwave and having to arrange my time schedule so that I was near my radio during the broadcast times. With streaming and podcasts now, I can listen whenever I want to a crystal clear signal. Since I have the local ADSL Internet connection here, it is more than fast enough and is up 24/7. So I can turn it on as I get into bed at night and fall asleep to the news of the world.
Of course there is satellite TV and CNN and BBC as well as CNBC and others, but if you still like to curl up in bed and listen to the radio lull you to sleep, like I do, then Internet listening might be the thing for you. The stories are much more in depth than on TV and they cover the less sensationalist news and seem to appeal more to the mind than to the eye.
Here is a list of some of my daily Internet listening (and some e-watching too).
The BBC’s News Hour and The World Today have been mainstays for decades of Expat listening around the world. I turn on the News Hour as I turn in for the night and get to listen to about one and a half news stories before I am out. Since it is a podcast, when the News Hour is over, the connection shuts down by itself. If I want to listen to the whole thing I can just play it again later.
The BBC has lots of other programs, from documentaries, to short news briefings, to special reports.
For most of my adult life I awoke to the news from National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on the weekdays, and their Saturday and Sunday shows on the weekend. If for some reason I overslept then I was out of luck and the rest of the day was never really in synch. Now with the Internet I can wake at anytime and listen to my morning shows. Of course, my morning is 12 hours different from morning in America and sometimes the news is already old by that time. No problem though since I am just waking up and don’t know any better.
NPR also has lots of other radio shows such as All Things Considered and the really good interview show Fresh Air.
This is the premier interview program on public radio in the U.S. Diane Rheme has been around for many many years and is about the most respected person in radio. She speaks haltingly as she has had a serious throat disease but it takes nothing away from her insight. She is on daily but I usually listen to her Friday 2-hour News Roundup (first hour National news and the second international news). There is nothing better than this in depth analysis of current events.
Diane Rheme also does interviews with authors and artists just to round out things for the week.
John Stewart has become the person who most of the younger population of the U.S. go to for their news. He has what he calls a “Fake News” show and uses satire to comment on stuff in the news. A while ago he was interviewing Barak Obama and inadvertently called him “Hey Dude”, which he later apologized profusely for. His is the rare show that makes you belly laugh and then really think about what was said.
His website plays snippets from his show or you can view the complete program. I watch it at least once a week, sometimes lining up the whole week’s shows and I watch them all at one sitting.
For a dyed in the wool liberal like I am this is a show that at least lets me know that I am not alone in my radical social thinking. It has very in depth analysis of news events, albeit left leaning. May or may not be your cup of tea but is of a much higher caliber than Fox News (which also has a website, unvisited by yours truly).
Let me know if you have a listening favorite.