As previously mentioned on these pages, I decided a while ago (when the Chinese commie crud started) to get really good at a few things, rather than being really average at a lot. After analyzing my total free time and assessing my preferences, I ended up on basically two things that I want to do with my free time. Maintain physical fitness and learn French.
Learning a language is a long haul and I expected that. What I didn’t expect is how rapidly I am learning things with the help of the many free or practically free aids you can find online. The space is cluttered and extremely competitive. After 15 months of throwing myself at this I have made some really nice progress. My original plan was to be fluent in 5 years, but if I can keep up this pace I believe I can do it in 3.
Through an acquaintance I discovered Radio Garden. I don’t have time for a lot of tech in my life so any new widget or gadget has to have a couple of qualifications.
1) extreme and 100% ease of use
2) add value to my life
Radio Garden meets my qualifications.
Radio Garden is an app where you can explore radio stations across the globe by simply putting a bullseye over a certain place and you instantly hear that radio station. It worked seamlessly for me. If you hover over a larger city with more stations, you can push a button and it will list them and you can cycle through and hear what you want to hear. In the photo below you can see I zeroed in over Paris and have chosen Replay News. Listening to the news for me is a great way to practice my translation and sharpen my ear to French. Large parts of the conversation are most of the time things you know something about (covid, elections, natural disasters, etc.) so you can typically piece the conversation together and hear how the things that you are learning are being used. Of course you also hear natives speaking the language.
On the way to work each morning I listen to some news (in English) to keep up on major stories. I used to listen to some music on the way home to unwind (I’m an old metalhead) but upon examining that use of time, I was wasting over 130 hours a year listening to Shout at the Devil for the millionth time and have decided that listening to the news in French is a far better use of that time.
It is amazing how pervasive American culture is. I heard Brad Paisley on a station in Australia and Miley Cyrus on one from the Cayman Islands. I also heard Rage Against the Machine from Poland and Christopher Cross from South Korea.
You get an ad on occasion on Radio Garden, but I am easily able to make that trade. I have been doing it with Pandora for a very long time – I use Pandora when I go running.
One more thing, speaking of Shout at the Devil, I stumbled on this the other day and was totally impressed. Not sure how I would feel if a 9 year old came into my office and perfectly did all of my purchasing forecasting or my business plan. I’m sure Tommy Lee is good with it, however.
5 thoughts on “Radio Garden”
“It is amazing how pervasive American culture is. I heard Brad Paisley on a station in Australia and Miley Cyrus on one from the Cayman Islands. I also heard Rage Against the Machine from Poland and Christopher Cross from South Korea.”
Yup, and this isn’t a new phenomenon. As an eight year old in Belgium (1968), I watched “Get Smart” in English on Belgian TV. A couple of years later, I watched the Flintstones on German TV, though the voices were dubbed in German and the show was listed as “Die Familie Feuerstein” in the German TV guides. In 1988, I stayed in a hotel in Johannesburg and turned on the TV to see what sort of programs South Africans would be watching. It was “The Cosby Show” which turned out to have the biggest TV audience in the country.
This is news I can use.
}}} It is amazing how pervasive American culture is.
Not actually, it’s perfectly expected, and is one of a number of measures of the left-denied “American Exceptionalism”.
We are a polyglot, “mutt” culture. We look at any culture we encounter, see what it has to offer, pick out the “good stuff, the useful stuff”, and throw the rest away. Sometimes we modify it to suit ourselves, or to improve on it (Chop Suey, Pizza), but the end result is an amalgam of most the rest of human cultures have to offer. And our citizenry, by their nature, represent practically every culture in the world, too. To the extent that, If It Plays Here, It’ll Probably Play Anywhere.
The end result is the preeminence of American Media, to the point where some cultures actually ban or restrict it lest it take over and subsume their own (e.g., “France”. But others, too.). “Rock The Casbah”, indeed.
China and India have significant creative ventures of their own, but they mainly sell to their massive internal base… their encroachment onto other cultures are much more restrained.
But that Radio Garden thing. Nice. Thanks. Going to forward that one around.
Pick up Mhz on Amazon channels. Try Sangre des Vignes or Meurtres En…. Both are French TV series(mystery) beautifully photographed in various gorgeous French locales and conducted entirely in French. You can check your understanding with the sub titles or omit them entirely. They are made for a French audience, not necessarily in the Paris region. There are other shows available, but these are usually upbeat and fun. We are also watching Italian shows, since I have read a lot of Detective stories located in Sicily and Venice. (cognitive dissonance – The Venetian detective one is a German show – great views of Venice and true to the stories, but the German dialog drives me crazy..)
Fiona: I used to watcha lot of MHz programming, until the local PBS dropped it. (They picked up the all-“native” channel FNX instead: mostly Canadian and some US Indian stuff, with Maori and Australian aborigine thrown in. And Sami.)
I loved catching anglo (usually American) references and usages. Columbo was apparently a big hit in Europe. And an odd thing: the credits in German, French, Swedish, Dutch, and Italian shows all include a line for “Casting” (the English word).
The Venetian detective one is a German show – great views of Venice and true to the stories, but the German dialog drives me crazy.
Commisario Brunetti. Yeah, it’s weird hearing Mamma say “Gott sei dank”, or the Sergento saluting the Tenente with “Jawohl, mein herr.”
The TV series is based on a series of novels written by an American who has lived for about thirty years in Venice. They are best-sellers in several countries including Germany, but have never been published in Italy.
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