February 11, 2011

strange addictions

Once upon a time, when I used to drive for 30 minutes each way for my work, I became an NPR addict. It's not like it was my first introduction to National Public Radio. PBS and NPR played a large part of the background noise of my childhood, right along with Simon and Garfunkel and classical music on the record player. But it wasn't really until I was commuting that I really fell for public radio. Suddenly I was getting in my car early on Wednesday mornings to make sure I caught Frank Deford's sports commentary (and I hate sports!) and sitting parked in front of my school or house listening to the end of a story. More than collage or even my massive book reading habits, NPR broadened my world. And no, don't worry, this isn't going to be a political statement here, the timing is just coincidental, although, really? Cut Public Broadcasting? Sorry but I think that's crazy in so many ways.

But back to the story at hand.
One of the only things I missed about my working life when I started staying at home with the kids was that daily radio time. Sure, I could listen to the radio at home. All day if I wanted, in theory. But the reality was that Briton, and later Evie and I were busy making and playing and listening to children's music, so NPR became more of an occasional listen when we were going somewhere in the car.

Then I discovered streaming radio and I was back to my old habits. Particularly after getting an iphone. And not just NPR, a whole world of streaming radio opened up. Maybe you've been on this bandwagon for a while, but I'm not super technologically advanced so it took me a while. As did my appreciation for YouTube which only set in about three months ago when I realized I could watch Victorian Farm, William and Mary and Portlandia despite the fact that I don't get any of the channels that they air on. So now I spend my writing and cooking and working around the house time listening to Woman's Hour or On Your Farm (I have a farm thing, it's weird) on BBC Radio 4 and looking forward to The Writer's Almanac during my morning walk and Pandora, which I love, love, love. But it occurred to me that there is probably a whole world of fun and unusual things to listen to out there that I've yet to discover.

I know this isn't my usual fare, writing about technology type things, but I'm curious. What am I missing? What do you listen to online? Are you into Podcasts? I've looked at them but am overwhelmed by the options (I found a fun knitting podcast once but haven't ever been able to find it again.) What else is out there? What gets you though your day?