Tuesday, April 21, 2020

R for Radio - My favourite things to counter COVID-19 stress

(This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. I am writing this month on activities that keep me refreshed during these depressing days. It's Day 18 today.)

I have always liked the radio and now there is more time to listen to it.

I listen mostly to BBC World Service, All India Radio (as many as 229 stations from all States), NPR, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio, Radio New Zealand, Radio France International, etc.

NPR has two options: NPR News and NPR One. The first one is a live radio station. NPR One is what I like, it's like a podcast. You can customize the stream by skipping what you don't like and marking 'interesting' what you like.

There are many more. Most radio stations in the world live stream on the internet. So it's very easy to search. I have bookmarked my favourites on the web browser, and I listen when I feel like.

Some of the stations have apps. There are also 'radio station aggregator' apps which have more than one radio station on one app. Two well-known ones are TuneIn and Radio Garden (you can listen to stations by turning the globe). There are also podcast apps, wherein you can subscribe to podcasts of different radio stations. The podcast app I use is PlayerFM.

Why I like the radio is I can listen to it even if I am engaged in some activity - walking, jogging, cooking, washing or relaxing on the bed. Secondly, it gives me an opportunity to visualise what I hear, which is some activity for our brain.


My earliest memory of a radio is a big box-like structure, nearly a foot in length, or even a bit more, and a little lesser than that in width and height. Inside were many 'valves', short tubular structures that glow when the radio is on.

There were three knobs, one to adjust the volume, another to tune into different stations, and the third one to switch between AM and SW1 and SW2. 

AM stands for amplitude modulation wherein the radio waves travel terrestrially. So, only signals from nearby radio stations are available.

SW stands for Short Wave, wherein the radio waves from the broadcasting stations are directed into the sky and they get reflected from the ionosphere down to earth. To listen to faraway stations one needs to switch to SW. More SWs bands higher the chances of better reception of the signals.

After we switch on the radio, we have to wait for a few minutes for the valves to get turned on.

Later came transistor radios, which are smaller and portable. Also, they start playing right when it is switched on. Gradually the size of these transistor radios became smaller and smaller, even small enough to fit into the pocket.

Now the radio has got really small: it's just one of the many features a "mobile phone" has!


  1. Technology made progress ;) Now I listen the radio in the car while driving.
    R is for Rayures

  2. Hari OM
    I love that the younger generations also enjoy listneing - only now it is called 'podcasts', even when being sent out via radios! I have been enjoying a BBC World Service podcast about the Apollo program (Thirteen Minutes); highly recommend it! YAM xx

    1. Hi Yamini - 13 minutes to the Moon is really good. Done very well.

  3. In the States, I always listened to the radio in my car. Since moving overseas, I listen to music apps instead. I read my news more often than watch it, but for background noise while doing things, it is usually Spotify or iHeartRadio.

    1. Hi Red - I haven't taken to Spotify, because there are many others. May be some day I will check that.

  4. Radio has come a full circle. It survived the pre-television era; maintained a status quo when TV's got popular & with internet and all distractions - it still holds its place.

  5. I do miss the old HMV radio we had at my father's house. Listening to Binaca Geetmala with everyone in the family settled around the radio was one of the sweetest memories that I cherish to date!
    Now a days I do listen to All India Radio Pune or Mumbai via internet and it gives me instant connect to my mother tongue.
    Your post on Radio made me a bit nostalgic!

  6. I always listen to radio while driving especially 24 hour news station.

  7. I love listening to the radio during car rides. These days, I settle for other mediums.

  8. I listen to podcasts with my husband, but music is my first choice. Heh... Be well!

  9. I had a short wave radio once. It was fascinating to listen to radio from some far off places. Little did I know then how easy it would be to get broadcasts from all over the world someday.