Sunday, December 11, 2011

Radio Geek New Year's Eve Delight

There's no other way to describe this audio-only YouTube clip. It is truly a Radio Geek New Year's Eve Delight (and received via shortwave, no less). I recorded it myself in the early morning hours of December 31, 1999 at home in Seattle when it was approaching midnight (and the year 2000!) in New Zealand. We hear from various reporters stationed around NZ. Then, midnight comes, and we end up in Auckland where NZ's own Split Enz are playing a live concert to ring in the new millennium. A bit more information is included in the YouTube description.

With this post I bid Happy Holidays to Radio Geeks everywhere!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Radio Round-Up

It's been a busy autumn, but here's a quick round-up of recent radio and radio history-related happenings:

1. Norman Corwin RIP. I wrote a short post for the Aircheck Blog of the Western States Museum of Broadcasting about my brief interactions with Mr. Corwin (shown in a photo from the New York Times) over the years.

2. Seattle Radio Theatre took part in a national radio drama project called Sleepy Hollow: The Ride Across America last week. I wrote and directed a 60-minute adaptation of Washington Irving's classic story, which an amazing cast performed live at Town Hall Seattle and which was also broadcast LIVE on AM 1090 KPTK. Complete audio is available here. I also spoke with Lee Callahan at KPTK about the nexus for the show and the concept behind the script a few days before the broadcast.

3. Prairie Home Companion's Tom Keith RIP. Read his New York Times obituary here and a find a written and audio tribute from Prairie Home Companion here.

4. I've enjoyed appearing a few times in the past month on local news/talk station KIRO 97.3 FM. I've talked about local history and culture, including local historical context for the "Occupy" movement and the local panic reaction to the 1938 broadcast (on KIRO AM) of "War of the Worlds."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Profile of Yankees' Radio Man John Sterling

Here's a short post linking to a New York Times piece from over the weekend about Yankees' radio man John Sterling (photo from NYT).

Stories about radio personalities are so rare in the old-school media, I thought it was worth passing along, and it is an interesting slice-of-life. And, I suppose it's inevitable that a Yankees' broadcaster would be a much-loved and much-hated figure, as foreign as that feels from the Seattle viewpoint.

Anyhow, just thinking about baseball on the radio makes me miss Dave Niehaus that much more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Late Summer Radio Round-Up

Here are four quick items:

1. For fascinating live and local coverage of the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene, I'm particularly enjoying the live stream of WCBS 880 AM from New York City. There is no better medium for local extreme weather emergencies than local AM radio, and the fact you can listen to a remote live stream via the web is pretty cool. (BTW: Alex Silverman, late of KIRO in Seattle is anchoring at the moment as I write this).

2. The most recent episode of This NOT Just In (the history radio series I do for KUOW in Seattle) is about the Beatles' 1964 visit here. Listen here.

3. KUOW's Weekday program with Steve Scher broadcast live from Town Hall Seattle a few weeks ago, and I produced a short behind-the-scenes video.

4. I was at the American Girl doll store near Seattle a few weeks ago and stumbled across a radio sound effects demonstration (related to one of their dolls whose character/backstory is set circa 1940). This radio stuff pops up in some pretty surprising places. The demonstration was not attracting a big crowd . . .

(Posted by Feliks Banel)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Still Love Radio . . . But I Now Love Other Audio Appliances, Too!

Hi, radio. Feliks Banel, editor of I STILL LOVE RADIO here. I wanted to let you know, before you hear it from someone else, that I do still love you, but just not in the same way. The truth is, I’ve been using other audio appliances—mainly an iPhone (but sometimes a WiFi radio, too)—for nearly a year now. I think you understand why.

I also gave up listening to commercial radio (and especially talk radio) at the end of 2010. I don’t miss it, and my days are far less cluttered with advertising, hyperbole and polemic pseudo-debates than they used to be. Nowadays, I hear the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s weekday morning program out of Vancouver via my iPhone or the WiFi radio. The CBC is great—no commercials or even underwriting announcements, and the weather reports for Vancouver are close enough to apply for weather where I live in Seattle (and the run-up to the Stanley Cup and the unfortunate riot made for good vicarious appreciation of local winning sports culture). On Saturdays, I still rarely miss NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon. But, again, I usually hear it on my iPhone. The iPhone is pretty convenient—if a little slow to “tune in”—but the sound is great and the charger means I never have to replace any batteries.

I do sometimes still listen to standard terrestrial radio in the car, but I switch around through so many different stations (mainly to miss commercials), that I don’t really listen to any one station long enough to feel connected to it. And I play a lot of CDs in the car, too, and plug in an aging iPod for longer trips.

So, I’m taking a break from the I STILL LOVE RADIO blog. I started it two years ago and kept up regular musings for about a year or so. During this time, in addition to writing about radio for the blog, I also did pieces about broadcasting for Crosscut and broadcasting articles and videos for the Seattle PI. Last year, I spent six months appearing twice weekly on KOMO Newsradio in Seattle, on the ambitious but short-lived “9-2-Noon” program with a feature called “Not Quite History.” I also became producer and host of the series This NOT Just In on KUOW, and have continued to produce and direct live radio drama broadcasts during the holidays.

Thus, I hope you can see that I still believe in what I would call "remote propagation of audio content" as a medium of expression and that I always will. And I still think that good old-fashioned, terrestrial radio did some incredible stuff in the past. I’ve got countless hours of historic recordings and a basement full of books about radio history that I’ll probably never part with, and I'll keep working on the Aircheck blog for the Western States Museum of Broadcasting and writing about broadcast history here, there and in other places, too.

But I just can’t credibly say “I STILL only LOVE RADIO” anymore. And so, this is Feliks Banel for I STILL LOVE RADIO, signing off . . . for now.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

West Coast D-Day Radio Round-Up

I've written about 1944 West Coast D-Day radio coverage a few times in the past in these I STILL LOVE RADIO posts:

Bob Hope Sat Up All Night By The Radio (JULY 2009)

NBC Radio Coverage of D-Day (JUNE 2010)

So, this year it seemed like a good time to produce a segment for KUOW-FM as part of the series "This NOT Just In":

This NOT Just In: D-Day On The West Coast

In other news, the CBC Radio One Vancouver coverage of the riots that followed Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals was excellent. I hope to prepare a post (with links to a decent aircheck) sometime in the next few weeks.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Radio Earthquakes, Rural Basketball, Less News

Here's a very short post with links to three recent pieces for other sites:

1. How the 2001 Nisqually Quake rocked LIVE RADIO in Seattle (for the, including in-studio video re-enactments by Dave Ross of KIRO and Steve Scher of KUOW.

2. A surprising "discovery" of rural high school basketball on the air near Spokane, WA, for the Aircheck Blog at the Western States Museum of Broadcasting.

3. Ruminations for on KPLU recently dropping hourly NPR newscasts.

That's all for now . . .

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

BBC World Service Coverage of Egypt Situation

This is a short post to commend the BBC for putting radio to work doing what it does best in its coverage of the developing situation in Egypt: live reports from journalists on the scene, expert analysis from a range of qualified and articulate speakers, and live phone-ins from regular folks around the world.

Good old terrestrial BBC radio broadcasts to Egypt were even more critical a few days ago, when Internet service there was disrupted by the government, leaving Facebook and Twitter off limits and useless.

In many cities around the US, public radio stations carry the BBC on one of their HD subchannels. Via the web, you can get the live BBC World Service radio stream here.

Whatever audio appliance you use, get it now and leave it on to witness aural history as it unfolds once again.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Challenger, Columbia and The Media

With the double anniversaries of Space Shuttle tragedies in the past week, it was worth going back and looking at the media coverage of the failed launched of the Challenger and the pre-landing disintegration of the Columbia.

How Seattle radio station KIRO covered the Challenger (with help from CBS) is the subject of a piece published by last Friday.

NPR host Scott Simon's recollections of covering the breaking story of the Columbia make up the bulk of a freelance radio piece I produced last week.

It seems like the Columbia was lost twice: once on the morning of February 1, 2003 in the skies over Texas, and again in the vortex of other news that week that has made this Shuttle tragedy an orphan of recent history. President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair met at Camp David to discuss Iraq the very same morning the Columbia was lost, and Colin Powell addressed the U.N. Security Council regarding weapons of mass destruction a few days hence (and both of these events were key to the run-up to the Iraq War about six weeks later).

And, finally, a round-up of links to decent YouTube clips of Shuttle disaster coverage is included in this post for Aircheck (the blog I edit for the Western States Museum of Broadcasting).

Sunday, January 16, 2011


It's been a busy winter so far, and I've been slow to update things here at ISLR. Here's a round-up of recent activities:

1. Continuing to write about radio and TV for the Western States Museum of Broadcasting's AIRCHECK Blog

2. Wrote a piece about the demise of Seattle's Smooth Jazz FM station for

3. Wrote a piece about Fisher Broadcasting fending off a takeover from a Canadian firm for

4. Produced a piece for KUOW FM about radio coverage of John Lennon's murder, and a piece about post-Pearl Harbor radio blackouts on the West Coast

I'm also excited to be working on a large-format photographic history of Seattle broadcasting for Arcadia Publishing (for publication later this year), working with the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) collection and grateful to Dave Richardson, who generously provided me with the research he gathered for his 1980 book Puget Sounds.

Several individuals from Seattle's radio and TV past and present have already provided or pledged photos from their personal collections, and I'll be doing more reaching out in the next few months. Please let me know if you have photos you're willing to share, or if you know of images that would be a good fit for this project.