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by Gary D. Crawford Unless you’re 72 or older, this article is going to seem very odd to you. It’s about radio. Yes, I realize you youngsters know all about radio, too. You listen to the radio all the time ~ in the car, at home, through the Internet. But I’m talking about a different sort of radio experience. You see ~ now hold onto your hats, kids ~ there was a time, not really so long ago, when there wasn’t any television. The only broadcasting was just audio, no video. Sound with no pictures. This applied not just to the news, talk shows, baseball games, and musical programs. Comedy and drama were presented that way, too. That’s how entertainment got into your home. Imagine that. There would be a popular actor or comedian or singer, somebody you really enjoyed listening to. You could tune in and hear them, but you couldn’t see them. You knew what they looked like from magazines or the newspapers, and sometimes they even appeared in movies. But their regular connection with you, their daily or weekly performances, was entirely through your ears. Your eyes weren’t involved; in fact, you could close

them. Indeed, it was often better that way. Of course, your mind’s eye was wide open. You “saw” what was happening, often quite vividly. Take, for example, the cowboy adventure stories. The lead character might say something like: “I tracked Morgan across the desert for a couple of miles or more. His trail ran pretty straight toward the foothills in the distance, weaving between the cactus and the sagebrush. The sun was merciless, the glare making it easy to lose the trail. Here his tracks bent to the right toward a narrow arroyo and I saw he had gone down into it. I pulled up and reached for my canteen…” These descriptions were great. We could hear his horse’s slow steps, as he clopped along through the sand, then changed to a harder and more uneven clicking as he picked his way carefully down the rocky slope of the arroyo. In a western, the sound of the horses’ hooves conveyed much of the action. Every so often the horse stopped and just stepped around, as the rider leaned with a grunt and a creak of his leather saddle as he tried to make out the faint marks


February 2014 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times February 2014

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