On my radio

by Suw on April 24, 2007

The weird thing about yesterday – other than the fact that I went to the gym and wrote three blog posts – was that I didn't turn the radio on all day. Usually I have XFM on from the moment Kevin leaves for work til the moment he comes home. Last year I struggled with listening via the internet, but when they “upgraded” their audio stream they made it PC-only, which sort of screwed me really, being a Mac girl. But Kevin bought me a DAB digital radio for Christmas which I have on pretty much all day every day.
Except yesterday.
Yesterday, I had a couple of phone calls, then spent a couple of hours watching Neil Gaiman on Fora.tv, and then settled into a quiet, radio-free day. The strange thing wasn't that I didn't miss the DJs' chitchat or the music, but that I had absolutely no idea what time it was. Even though I looked at the clock and the clock told me what time it was, because I didn't experience the DJs' shifts changing throughout the day, I had no sense that time had progressed at all. When the clock showed 4:30 pm it still felt like morning, even though I had eaten lunch, because I hadn't heard the X-List at 1.00 and didn't catch the lunchtime news*.
XFM recently changed their schedule, and I'm a bit ambivalent about the new line-up. Claire Sturgess I like a lot, and I look forward Ian Camfield each day, but to be honest the new DJs just sort of leave me cold. I don't just listen to XFM because I like their playlist, but because I find the DJs to be entertaining… if the DJs stop being entertaining, I may as well just listen to iTunes, Pandora, Last.fm or SomaFM Secret Agent.
But the one thing XFM will always have over time-shifted or DJ-free internet radio and podcasts is the ritual of it, the sense of schedule-as-timekeeper, ringing the hours and giving form to the day. Nothing can replace the beginning of XFM's Music Response at 7pm as my signifier that we're going to be eating late that night.
* XFM's news is pretty unchallenging, really, but it does give me at least an idea of what's going on in the world.

Anonymous April 25, 2007 at 7:32 pm

I can't remember the last time I listened to the radio – certainly not since John Peel passed away. Oh, I listened to a Radio 1 Breezeblock DJ set by Amon Tobin a few months ago but even that was on the BBC's “Listen Again” online radio player rather than as it was originally broadcast.
I listen to music almost constantly from when I* get home from work until I go to bed. I am my own DJ!

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