Monday, September 11, 2006
Whenever I am in my car, I am probably listenting to a podcast, public radio, or an AM talk show (Michael Smerconish). The car radio is rarely tuned to regular ol' stations that play music anymore. While the podcasting interest is still relatively recent for me -- I only got an iPod last December, and then found my way to podcasts early this year -- the public radio interest started on September 11 ... 2001. My office was dismissed early so that we could go home and be with our families. Of course, many other folks got the same idea. So I got stuck in the 309 Northbound traffic for a while. Being confined and isolated in my car -- I say "isolated" even though scores of other people around me were similarly confined in their own vehicles -- I found myself hungering for information. For some kind of connection to the aftermath of the morning events ... to the events still going on. And, frankly, after having shared the horror and anxiety of that morning with my colleagues and co-workers, I just didn't welcome this seeming loneliness in my car. I had already tried to call a couple of family members, with varying degrees of success. Circuits invariably were busy. So, I found my way down the dial to 90.1FM -- WHYY in Philadelphia. And I have been listening to programming on that station ever since. Yesterday, I caught a broadcast of the Sonic Memorial Project. This is as good an argument for public radio as there is. I might never have heard about this if I had not caught it on the radio. The Sonic Memorial Project features material submitted by people across the U.S. who contributed personal recordings, stories and remembrances. There is a recording of the revolving doors at the World Trade Center (sounding eerily like a heartbeat), elevator recordings, and voicemail messages. Sure, just about all of the dialogue is available in a transcript, but I suggest you listen to the whole thing. It's amazing, somber, and at times ... heartbreaking. The project's own website (sonicmemorial.org) seems to be down, but you can catch the entire transcript at American RadioWorks (link). There is a link to download the RealAudio on that page as well.