I went back 11 years to jump back 82

Somewhere in all of my feeds, someone today discovered Radio Garden. Someone is always discovering Radio Garden. It’s a place where you can listen to almost any sort of radio station in the world. If there’s a stream, there’s a way. It’s a fascinating idea portrayed in a Google Earth-style interface, and it’d be easy to while away several hours and learn about other places or get homesick as you like.

It’s a fascinating online experiment. And, like any online experiment, it always feels like a proof of concept, like a demo. And, like any online experiment, you always want a little more. I want not only every radio station, but old feeds, as well. I’d like to hear the personalities I knew when I listened all the time, and when they were in their primes. I would like to hear the people from places I’ve only heard about. I’d like to make sure none of audio ever made it onto the site.

I’ve lately been going back through the “Memories” function of Facebook. I’m deleting dumb things, removing useless items and typos and laughing at how bad cell phone cameras were in 2009.

On this day, in 2009, I apparently discovered A Day in Radio. You can hear what was going into the ether in 1939. As I noticed when I discovered that site 11 years ago now, and I would note once more, the 1939 newscasts have this horrible pull of history. The newsman is superb. It is riveting, knowing what is to come; knowing what you can’t tell them, what they can’t prevent.

I suppose it’s like that all of the time. It’s easy to develop a mistaken impressions, when you learn about things as thumbnail sketches over a great distance of time, that a lot of what happens happens in isolation. It’s a surprise, a shock to the system. Who could have seen that coming!?

This first ran in a small town weekly.

But, as it often turns out, a lot of people aren’t completely surprised by the developments of the day, if they paid attention. And many people did! The war in Europe and the madness in Asia were front page news, of course. The newsreels were doing their best to keep people informed, and that was working. You could tell an American in 1939 about Pearl Harbor and they’d most likely wonder what a Pearl Harbor was, but they knew about Japan. On this day in 1939 the newspapers talked of Japan seizing islands, increasing tensions between Germany and the British over the Spanish Civil War, a bunch of new planes going to London via the lend-lease program.

The tea leaves were there. Maybe they always are. Or maybe history is unfair like that. You sometimes had to do more than skim the big headlines. Meanwhile, the decision makers were getting ready. The world was mourning the death of a pope, Congress wanted to reinsert itself into foreign policy and stories like this were popping up more frequently.

And in California …

That’s the famed P-38.

Makes you wonder what we’re paying attention to, doesn’t it? What we don’t understand because we don’t enjoy a holistic view, or, worse, what we’re missing altogether while we’re in our apps and reality TV.

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