I spend a lot of time on the road these days, visiting schools as a consultant with a music store. As a result, I sometimes find myself so far into the backwoods that radio reception is spotty at best. Sometimes the only program I can get is a local AM station.
Those of us of a certain age will remember AM in its heyday. The Big Ape out of Jacksonville, WBT from Charlotte, WWO in New Orleans. And of course the local stations, with twangy country music, bellowing preachers, and equally twangy DJ’s hosting swap shops or reading the day’s farm report.
Hearing those scratchy sounds coming from my car speakers now brings a flood of memories, as well as a feeling that as long as local radio still exists, maybe we’re insulated from the rest of the world. Hardly ever did we hear national or world news. Paul Harvey told us what we needed to know.
But we’re not as apart from the rest of the world as maybe we’d like to be. The hazy skies this week are the result of dust from the Sahara Desert thousands of mile away. Store closures and face masks stem from a virus originating even farther away in China.
The events of elsewhere do affect us here, whether we like it or not. The “not in my backyard” efforts to keep certain businesses or kinds of people away from here only made our downtown dry up. Injustices elsewhere are likely found here too.
My New Year’s resolution on optimism still stands, though. I’m convinced we’ll face the current challenges and emerge stronger and more united. But, oh how much better would it be if we could hear that dry, stentorian voice just one more time:
“This is Paul Harvey. Good day!”