Radio stations are repetitive. Different stations have their own personalities, themes, and genres, but they’re still beholden to the same master: the listeners. If the people want to hear the same Mike Posner song played ad nauseam, who are you to disagree, puny one?
For those of us who have been through the full emotional merry-go-round with song repetition (disinterest leading into tolerance, tolerance leading into obsession, obsession into hatred, hatred into disinterest, and so it goes again and again) enough times to warrant an intervention, there’s hope! You just have to leave your country. Metaphorically speaking, of course, thanks to this nifty site, Radio Garden.
Radio Garden is a Transnational Radio Knowledge Platform traveling online exhibition designed by Amsterdam-based Studio Moniker and developed by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. It’s a project that aims to connect people worldwide through shared experiences.
“From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders,” the site says. “Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away — or using local community radio to make and enrich new homes.”
The site’s Live function lets you zip around the world and sample different cultures’ stations with the click of a button while also demonstrating how shared some of our musical tastes really are. Each green dot on its map represents a new location, and therefore a different station. In the case of major locations like Amsterdam, Argentina, Nairobi, Paris, and so on, the site will let you choose from several stations in the area. Skipping around Europe, there are plenty of catchy electronica beats that offered something akin to a late night in New York City. Other continents, like South America and Africa, are far sparser in terms of available stations. The music there, however, provided a much-needed break in pace with less bump-and-grind and more melody.
The site also offers a Jingles section with old themes from different stations, as well as a History area offers snippets on how radio has tried to “cross borders” in different nations. And Stories features speakers across the world sharing their own experiences with listening, radio, and sounds.
It’s especially useful if, like me, you’ve grown tired of your fallback Spotify playlists and want something new. That being said, I can confirm that you’re likely to bump into old friends and foes. Posner found me again nearly halfway around the world. Only two more plays until my tolerance reverts once more into a lovely obsession.