Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Take Me Back: Rhode Island Edition

What takes you back in time?

For me recently, it was an app I downloaded for my iPod Touch. Specifically, it was an app that allowed me to listen to the NPR station out of Rhode Island. For the past few days I've been listening to WRNI and it's taking me right back to my two years living in Providence. I listened to a lot of NPR since I never had television beyond what little would come through the rabbit ears, and as a result I felt plugged into national and international events and especially to the events and politics of Rhode Island. Of course, I was living in the capital and RI's such a small state that it's relatively easy to be plugged into the goings-on, but NPR was what took me there.

While listening the last few days, it was the little details that really took me back: hearing the traffic reports that reminded me of the roads I used to drive, the exits I used or drove past, the local landmarks. Hearing about Linc Chaffee being sworn in as the new governor took me back to the 2006 election, when Chaffee--a popular Senator despite being a Republican--was rather reluctantly voted out by RI voters as national politics trumped local politics (Chaffee's defeat helped usher in Democratic control of the Senate). In case you're curious, Chaffee has become an Independent, which was a better description of his politics all along.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think the programming schedule may have changed since I lived there, but one fixture was On Point, which comes out of Boston's WBUR. What a great show. Tom Ashbrook is really a great host (he's a perceptive interviewer and today Lauren and I loved hearing him--politely--smack down a listener who was straying way off topic) and the programming on the show is routinely interesting.

I also heard that the school where I used to teach sponsors the NPR station--I always knew it was a great place, but its support of a great NPR station sealed it for me.

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