Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Letter to WBHM, Birmingham's NPR Station

Ghetto Blaster
Image by Stephen Barnett via Flickr/Creative Commons

"I think I'm in love with my radio
Cause it never lets me down
And I fall in love with my stereo
Whenever I hear that sound"
- "Radio" by Beyonce


Dear WBHM,

When I was a teenager I believed no one could love me like my radio.

It was always there for me. I listened to the radio while getting ready for and riding to school each morning. My radio made evening homework sessions go by faster and every night my radio sang me to sleep.

I still have fond memories of calling my favorite DJ to request my favorite song and then waiting by the radio with a blank cassette in the tape deck so I could record the highly anticipated track.

R&B ballads by the likes of Mariah Carey gave me fuel for all the sad, angst-filled love poems I wrote  back then. And the anthems sang by girl groups like TLC stirred within me a sense of self-pride that would eventually blossom into my feminism.

Then one day everything changed. Radio and I grew apart.

I could try to blame it all on mainstream music.  I could say rap music became too sexist and senseless and that pop and R&B became too trite. But, truthfully, I'm the one who changed. My favorite artists became folks like Ani DiFranco, musicians who don't get mainstream radio airplay.  And most club bangers started to give me a headache.

So I turned off my radio.

Then you came along.

I admit that in the past I was never a huge NPR fan because I felt the radio was supposed to be a source of escape and entertainment. As I grew older I started tuning in to NPR for updates on major news events, but was still far from a loyal listener.

But when I moved back to my hometown of Birmingham I decided to give you a chance. You impressed with your programming and with events like I quickly got hooked on station's programming and was impressed by events like Issues & Ales.

Radio and I began to rekindle the flame, and I owe it all to you.

I am a fan of good music for the same reason that I am a writer -- I love stories. And you are always there telling me an intriguing tale whether it's about life for children in Palestine or the story of a gay man being reunited with his siblings after being cast out the family by his ultra conservative father. Just last week I learned about the evolution of hand dryers. You're so awesome that you can make hand dryers interesting! And two weeks ago, thanks to you, I began my day with an inspiring interview with Sonia Sotomayor.

Because of you I am more informed, more empathetic, and more motivated.

What I'm trying to say is you make me a better person.

And I can't get enough of you.

I've become one of those people who are almost late for work because they're sitting in the parking lot in their cars enraptured by an NPR feature report. Every weekend I look forward to listening to the word game Says You.

And you don't forgot that I love music too. If it weren't for you I would have never learned about the artist Kendra Morris, whose album Banshee was one of my favorite releases of 2012.

I am so happy we're taking our relationship to a new level and making things official now that  I've signed on to be the Race & Diversity blogger for your website.

And today is Valentine's Day, so let's celebrate and dance to our song.



A version of this post originally appeared on The Writeous Babe Project.

No comments:

Post a Comment