Monday, May 24, 2010

Good Morning, LA

Downey Palms, 2009

One of the unexpected pleasures of iTunes is iTunes Radio. I used iTunes for a couple of years before I even looked to see what the radio feature was all about. Imagine my surprise when I found live feeds for hundreds of radio stations from all over the world and covering just about every genre you can think of.

I have friends who won’t touch iTunes out of contempt for Apple or because they’re convinced their credit card number kept on file at iTunes will be used to buy drugs in Columbia, or something equally scandalous. I can’t do much about that other than to say that I’ve never had a moment’s problem.

What I can tell you is that iTunes is an amazingly rich resource of information and entertainment. There’s music, of course. It’s not free. But you can’t beat the depth of its database and the immediacy of its delivery. Combine iTunes with the iPhone app called Shazam and you’ll never again have to wonder what a particular piece of music you heard somewhere and didn’t recognize was.

(There’s a lot of television programming and movies at iTunes, too, if that’s your thing.)

What really has me hooked, though, are the podcasts. For those of us with voracious information appetites, podcasts are a godsend. There are entertaining and educational podcasts for just about every interest. I won’t tell you how many hours of podcasts I download every week. Just suffice it to say that I never lack for something to listen to when I’m driving, walking, working in the garden and so on; everything from conversations about current affairs, the media, photography, travel, art and design to Harvard professors talking about philosophy and architecture. And all free! Is this great, or what?

Ever since I got back from Los Angeles last December, I’ve been in the habit of tuning iTunes radio to KUSC when I come into the office in the morning. KUSC is a broadcast service of the University of Southern California and claims to be the most listened to public radio and classical music station in the country.

That part doesn’t really matter to me. We’ve got two perfectly good public radio stations in our area. What I like about KUSC, though, is the time difference between the East Coast and the West Coast. When I come into the office in the morning, it’s still before dawn in LA. The music is calm. The on-air chatter is laid back and unobtrusive. Morning traffic reports out there haven’t gotten too crazy yet. As my morning on the East Coast becomes busier, KUSC keeps me calm. As my morning ends and I contemplate what has to happen before the business day ends, they’re just getting started in LA. I know it sounds silly, but this gives me the impression that the day is still young and full of promise.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, that's a great idea--I'm not familiar with KUSC either, (although my cousin went to school there, so I'm sure he is.) I love podcasts as well--my iPod goes with me everywhere, and even at work, I keep it in one ear and listen all day. Radio is awesome.