Look at Me, Ma, I’m on the Radio

I love radio, which is one reason I’m so thrilled about my newest gig on WVTF. I blame my love of radio on my parents, who had the radio on all the time, all day long and all night long. The dial on the radio in their room and in the living room never changed. It was always on KDKA in Pittsburgh. And, according to my mother, it’s simply not news or worthy of conversation unless it’s reported on by KDKA. I take issue with that, just as a good daughter who moved away from home should. I prefer NPR, which is another reason I’m excited about being on public radio.

My mother has had a long love affair with KDKA, which actually was the one of the first radio stations in the country. (As in ever.) At the age of 67, Mom still likes to talk about the old days in radio. She was a radio singer with a group of young people known as the “Starlets ” in the 1950s. They sang songs like “Bell Bottom Blues” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” every Saturday morning on KDKA.

Much to my mother’s dismay, neither one of her daughters followed in her musical footsteps.
But here I am, reading my essays on the radio—and that’s more than all right with me.

There’s nothing like the intimacy of radio. I’m sorry, but television doesn’t have it. I think it goes back deep into our psyche, you know, the need for storytelling in our lives. For me, nothing beats a good book, but listening to a story gives me a thrill. You hear the person read, with their own particular speech patterns and so on. But the story is really alive in your head. You are the one imagining pictures to those words. And maybe that’s where television—with it’s constant bombarding of images—falls short for me. (Not that I don’t enjoy good television from time to time.)

I’m excited to be walking in the same tradition as some of my favorite radio story tellers. And I know I’m not singing, Ma, but hey, look at me.

Weekend Virginia is on Radio IQ at 2PM Saturday and 3PM Sunday. It’s on WVTF at 6AM Saturday. Check it out!

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