Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

May 28, 2009

This Wonderful Life: I heart the radio. A lot.

Of all the 20th-century media out there (newspapers, television, magazines), radio is the one I would miss the most if it completely disappeared. With the proliferation of iPods and other MP3 players, radio stations are struggling to keep listeners. Why take a chance on the radio when you can plug in all your favorite music or listen to a podcast or book?

Don’t even get me started on in-car DVD players that make it possible to spend a full day on the road with your children without ever having to actually have a conversation with them.

Not me. I love the radio. I love the pure, random magic of it. I love that I’m not in control of it.

One minute I am back in 10th grade, earnestly singing along with Simple Minds, imploring the universal ``You’’ not to forget about me.

The next minute, I am listening to The Pointer Sisters’ ``Slow Hand,’’ and envisioning a compilation CD entitled ``Mid-1980s Divorcee Rock.’’ My mind wanders to the possibilities of the playlist. The Pointer Sisters’ ``Slow Hand,’’ Juice Newton’s ``Queen of Hearts,’’ anything at all from the Barbra Streisand/Barry Gibb collaboration known asá ``Guilty,’’ which included such unforgettable divorcee classics as ``A Woman in Love,’’ ``What Kind of Fool’’ and the title track, ``Guilty.’’

To quote: ``And we got nothing to be guilty of Our love will climb any mountain near or far, we are And we never let it end...’’

If you were a child of a 1980s divorce (or a participant in one), that song might just be stuck in your head all day. Sorry about that.

Radio doesn’t even have to be good to be satisfying. I love the fact that, although I would never in a million years seek out the song `Easy Lover,’’ by Phil Collins and Philip Bailey, I can almost certainly count on hearing it on some central New York radio station or another if I spend any time in the car.

Such is the radio time warp that seems to have cast a spell over radio stations in our region. If it isn’t ``Easy Lover’’ it will be ``Sussudio’’ or something half unbearable by Chicago or Peter Cetera.

Did I mention that I am a stoplight singer? You know those people you make fun of because, when you stop next to them at a stoplight (this would be in a town with more than one stoplight), you catch them singing along with the radio in some embarrassing fashion? That’s me.

But I don’t just sing — I perform. Singing is what you do in the studio when only your band mates and producers are watching. Performing is what you do on stage or in your World Premiere Music Video. And this isn’t some reserved and dignified Susan Boyle-style performance. It’s the kind of thing that would make even Coldplay’s Chris Martin cringe in embarrassment for me.

In short, I work it. And I am old enough now that I no longer care whether a carload of teenagers is in the next lane witnessing my seatbelt bound interpretation of ``Careless Whispers.’’ I am confident like that.

So go ahead. Create your cross-town playlists. Download your podcasts. Program every moment of your daily audio audio experience. I prefer to be surprised.

Elizabeth Trever Buchinger is working for the weekend. You can connect with her at www.moremindfulfamily. wordpress. com.