The work I used to do in radio was generally done with a screwdriver. I ripped the backs off of commercial radios and hacked and tweaked them to my own specifications. Every radio warned on the back in scary typefaces that I was taking my life into my hands.
I have to say proudly that the admonitions from RCA, GE and Motorola: "Removing Panel Results in Shock Hazard" or "NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS INSIDE" were my first invitation to confront authority. These first experiences in radio had a media, technology, and civic protest dimension. I wasn't thinking any of this at the time. Some 40 years ago it was all about wanting to open the back of my radio and make it more powerful. By boosting the RF inputs I could hear more distant stations. It was simple really. I wanted to be able to hear more voices from more places and I was determined to learn how to do it. I learned how to build transmitters and actually reach people with radios of my own design. (I talked with a guy in Iraq back in the '60's before Saddam and made friends via-shortwave with a fellow from Iceland who collected model trains and wanted to speak better English). Those were great adventures to me and it was odd that the skill of how to reach out electronically was never offered to the public at large. We were all encouraged to sit back and information would be delivered to us. Any attempt to intervene in the information flow from the networks or the big papers was subversive. It was as though you needed a license called celebrity to speak through the media. Do it on your own and you get a call from the FCC or worse.
Well, now I am holding the biggest screwdriver of my career and I'm about to jam it into the back of something called MORNING PUBLIC RADIO. I and a fabulously talented staff including my co-host Adaora Udoji are launching the TAKEAWAY on WNYC and PRI. We are all probing around the sacred assumptions of what is news and who gets to speak and we are going to tweak away inside this global radio live each morning for an audience of millions. What's more, we want everyone to remove the back panels from their radios and risk the shock of something new.
The TAKEAWAY is a new door into the loud, diverse conversation of being American in a 21st century world.
Come on in!
I believe that we are living in wild, fabulous and dangerous times. There's never been a better soundtrack to life as you can find in the music created and shared around the world today. There's never been a stronger sense that the world can be seen from our own YouTubeian windows. But we've also got ...presidents who suspend the constitution... candidates who change political rules in the middle of the game and campaigns run on sabotage and the silliness of 3am wake-up calls. (is that when all the important meetings take place in Washington DC @ 3AM???) We've got an economy mortgaged to hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, and other speculators... Wheat, rice corn and oil are all suddenly mixed up together in a an economic brew that is disrupting everyone's dinner plans.
The shock warning, it seems to me, has to do with doing nothing. (Now you certainly don't have to agree with John Hockenberry about anything to enjoy this show. Just ask anyone on the staff of The TAKEAWAY)
The TAKEAWAY is a radio show, a website, and a community dedicated to action and adventure in news and information.
Together we can deliver some shock waves... I say give everyone a screwdriver and in this information JUNGLE let's go out there and bag ourselves some friggin truth!!!