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 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 The technical content in that post is probably outdated now, but in any case, I’m glad to see that I said similarly nice things about the show that time too.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