WHEN I return to my home state of Washington, one of the first things I do that makes me feel at home happens as soon as I get in the car of whichever family member braved the airport traffic: I turn the radio dial to 103.7. Also known to Seattleites as The Mountain (derived from the station’s call letters KMTT and the way all Washingtonians refer to Mount Rainer), 103.7 immediately tells me I’m home. I grew up listening to its blend of modern and classic rock, seeing its logo on beach balls tossed around by concert-goers at Pier 63, and expecting to hear the voice of host Marty Reimer over the car speakers every morning.
Thinking about how much listening to The Mountain defined my Tacoma and Seattle for me, I realize what may be missing from how I connect to my new home of Los Angeles. I don’t listen to the radio much here. I hardly listened to it at all before bringing my car to the city last summer. And even since then, when I’m driving, I tend to opt for a playlist on my iPod or Jack FM far more than tuning in to The Sound or KROQ. When I’m not in the car, it’s always my iTunes library or Pandora.
I feel that I might find myself connecting to the city more if I chose to listen to Los Angeles radio more often. Part of this would be about hearing the music that defines an L.A. radio station and getting to know the hosts. But it’s more than that: There’s something about listening to the radio that’s different from listening to a CD or an mp3 player – even if it’s the same song – it’s different when you know that a few thousand people are also listening to that same song at that same moment. Even if it’s indirect and somewhat abstract, I feel a little more connected to my fellow Los Angelenos when I know that I’m not the only one alone in my box on wheels, listening to it, and singing along.
– Emily Rome
Photo: I don't even own a radio aside from my car's – an antique like this one or otherwise. Then again, that's no excuse as long as all the radio stations keep up their active websites. Credit: David / Wikimedia Commons