There Is No Cat

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Saturday, March 1, 2003

Good radio

The Observer has a lengthy list of Good Stuff available on radio in the UK. Most of it doesn't make much difference to someone in New Jersey like me, but there are actually a few people and shows mentioned that I try to listen to even from this distance, particularly now that the BBC offers some of its programs on demand. For example, BBC Radio 4's Home Truths. The article cites the program's producer, Rebecca Armstrong, but the public voice of the program is the much beloved John Peel, who has a wonderful way of interviewing people. All those years as a DJ; who knew? The program is basically just people telling stories to John. It works incredibly well. As I've said before, radio is a great way to tell stories. I love this one from this week's program about a couple who had been shacked up for over 20 years who decided to finally get married. Now I don't feel so bad about being engaged for more than six years. :-)

Verity Sharp is a presenter of Late Junction on BBC Radio 3, one of a number of programs on Radio 3 focused on world music, a relatively recent addition for a channel normally focused on fine arts and classical music. There's some neat stuff available on the Radio 3 site. I particularly like the "World on Your Street" features that highlight musicians from around the world who now live and ply their trade in the UK.

Last but not least is Lyse Doucet, who reports for the BBC World Service. I was actually interviewed by Ms. Doucet a couple of years ago when the World Service decided to stop broadcasting to North America on shortwave. I was deeply involved in a (failed) campaign to convince them not to stop broadcasting. The producer I talked to in preparing for the interview warned me that Doucet was a tough interviewer who didn't throw cream puffs to interviewees. But I thought she gave me every chance to state my case for why the BBC was making a serious mistake, and I thought the eventual piece that aired didn't distort what I said. I wasn't crazy about them then bringing on the head of the World Service to ooze condescension over everything I said, but no matter, journalistic fairness dictates that they give the other side as well. Anyway, I think Lyse Doucet is one of the best things about the BBC World Service, or at least she was when I still listened to it. Nice to see that The Observer thinks so too.

Posted at 11:17 PM

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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