I am an avid listener to CBC Radio 1. It wakes me every morning, and is on almost exclusively when I’m driving — the only exception being when Dennis wants to listen to the U.S. driven, R&B, pap[*] that Hot 89.9 puts out. It is also the only station that I have ever made the requisite effort to be listening to at a specific time in order to catch a particular program of interest.
Now there are many good shows on CBC1 (and a few duds), but of all of them, one of their greatest jewels is the show Ideas. The basic premise of the show is effectively captured by it’s title: to expose you to ideas. According to their website…
Ideas is a program about contemporary thought. It explores social issues, culture and the arts, geopolitics, history, biography, science and technology, and the humanities.
… but this typically Canadian understatement hardly does it justice. By turns Ideas can be enlightening, frustrating, shocking, heart warming, awe inspiring, disgusting — the gamut of human potential. I have learned more in a week of listening to Ideas than I have in some university courses.
Of course, the show is not easy listening. It requires real engagement on your part, and depending on the subject matter, may be a dry slog. It’s worth sticking with it, though. In this world of focused specialization and heads-down scrambling through the immediacies of life, it is wonderful to be reminded that there is a bigger picture, and we’re all part of it.
If you’re looking for Ideas, their site has broadcast times and show notes. CBC1 can also be streamed over the net if you can’t find some other way to get there.
If you want just a taste of Ideas, you can subscribe to their “best of” podcast on iTunes. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a podcast of all episodes. It’s too bad, really; that’s one that would definitely be on my iPhone.
Addendum 1: One of my favorite past episodes was Tick Tock Bang: Noise in Modern Art a show about Industrial Music from 1999. For the longest time, a RealAudio version of this episode was available on their site, but the content seems to be gone now.
Addendum 2: I had forgotten that I had posted a HOWTO on capturing Ideas over the web in a previous post. The technical content in that post is probably outdated now, but in any case, I’m glad to see that I said similarly nice things about the show that time too.
[*] According to The Free Dictionary
- worthless or oversimplified entertainment or information