A couple of people asked what I've put in place of all news, if indeed I'm never going to indulge in it anymore - especially in the case of driving, which can get pretty god-awful if there isn't something on the radio. If you're not listening to NPR anymore, nor the of constant patter of a 1010 WINS station, and your community is bereft of good music stations, you've got to think a little further afield.
As such, here are the major categories of What To Listen To Whilst Driving:
• "Your" Music - I'm not sure how it works with Android, but with an iPhone, keeping your songs in the Cloud™ is a damn fine way to hear anything you want, ever. It can lead to unexpectedly transcendent moments, like when I played Time by the Alan Parsons Project for Lucy on the way to school. Watching her listen to that silly (yet bizarrely beautiful) old song with her huge eyes staring out the car window - just wonderful.
You can also go the Spotify or Pandora route, but what I really wish for are the old days of mix-tape swapping, when we used to borrow cassette tapes for weeks at a time, and get our music curated by our best friends. Why the hell can't we still do that?
• HD Radio - If your radio is relatively new, it can access HD stations, which are these crazy streams of content that are hard to find until you lock into it. Here in LA, to the side of the JACK-FM 93.1 normal feed is the Last.fm Discover HD2 feed for new music, which is really fantastic. I wouldn't even know how to tell you to get there, but when you do, save it.
• Podcasts - I know there are people in the world who don't dig podcasts, but I'm not one of them. So many of my commutes have been saved by podcasts - hell, my many drives to upstate New York have been fueled by the This American Life app.
In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg will make you a smarter human, the History of English podcast is exquisite, and if you follow the Heels, you gotta follow Andy and Reed's Tar Heel Bred, Tar Heel Dead show.
• Sirius XM - I have been an active cheerleader for satellite radio since the very beginning, and still hold the torch. If you have nothing else, you've got plenty. And while 1st Wave gives you all the Clash and Cure you could want - and Sirius XM Hits 1 offers a quick rundown of the top 10-ish songs for your cultural currency - nothing comes close to Sirius XMU, the station I wish WXYC had been.
• Absolutely nothing - There is always silence and meditation. Just let go. As my vedic guru told me, do not dwell on thoughts; treat them as party guests and politely excuse yourself.
Posted by Ian Williams at February 6, 2013 11:07 PM