Radio demands attention and compels involvement

The title of this post is stolen from Michael Enright’s NYE essay about the value of radio.

Even though it’s a full three months since that essay aired, I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. The medium of radio is such that it is very similar to the human voice that we all start learning from. Outside of “living and learning” through experience, this auditory element may be the most powerful means of learning before or after the fact.

Through history, the lecture (not only the ones that go one way) certainly has shown it’s stripes as the de facto means of teaching. Looking to radio, and the way that it has survived and perhaps even strengthened in light of ever changing technology, the power of voice is undeniable.

Maybe what makes the power of voice stand out now, and (other than a few minutes to myself) what got me to select this idea from my list of post ideas is the realization that what is causing so much grief in the world is that the voice of so many has, for the first time been disrupted. For the first time, it’s not only the “others” around the planet who are without a voice, but is seems in a time where “the most powerful man on the planet” has rejected the power of conversation, and has worked so hard to remove the voice from indiscriminately wide swathes of the population. But in light of this, the resistance comes from people who have realized that the way that “we” arrived at this point in history is that we allowed for sound bytes to take precedent over conversations. We allowed the rejection of lecture and its variants to erode our education systems.

I think we have to start understanding that if we want to make things better, we have to start making time to tell stories properly and not to take shortcuts. We have to attend to stories and take action as needed.

Originally published at

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