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Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

I received an e-mail survey from Aspen public radio station KAJX asking, “Where you listen, how you listen, what programs you listen to, when you listen and why you listen,” followed by a little, bitty box in which to encapsulate my listening habits in 150 letters or fewer. Whoa!

I’m way too long-winded to be a tweeter, but I could easily devote a whole column to my relationship with KAJX.

My day begins with an early-morning call of nature. If this event occurs between 2 and 4 in the morning, I can usually make it to the john and back to bed without fully wakening – I crawl back under the covers with the dachshunds and return to Nod.



But if it happens at 4 or 5, I am more awake and grope for my radio remote (which I love) and turn on KAJX. NPR’s “Morning Edition” doesn’t come on the air until 5 (6 on the weekends!), so I might have to spend a fidgety hour with the BBC until “my program” comes on, at which I quickly fall back to sleep.

There follows one or two hours of NPR dreams. In one long-ago dream, Daniel Schorr was at a party, and when he left he went out the door saying, “This is Daniel Schorr,” just like he always closed his newscasts. In another, I was desperately trying to question a newscaster who glared at me, saying, “Can’t you see I’m on the AIR?”



When I surface at 7 or 8, I can often trace, from the repeated news stories, exactly where the dreams came from.

The evening broadcast of “All Things Considered” gets more unimpeded attention. I listen to that in the kitchen, or occasionally the car, or back in bed for a lie-down. How do I listen? With what’s left of my ears, which is to say, blasting.

I’ve been through various music stages in my life, but now I’m more drawn – except for my granddaughter Riley’s music – to talking. A musical exception is the “Piano Puzzler” every Wednesday, in which you have to identify a composer being imitated (I hardly ever get that) and the title of a popular song embedded in it (I often get that).

My all-time favorite radio show is “This American Life,” a show that translated poorly on TV. It is on at 9 every Sunday morning, repeated Friday evenings at 8. I am so excited about the arrival of the storytelling show, “The Moth,” at 10 p.m. on May 25, that I wrote it on my calendar.

“Snap Judgment,” on Friday at 9, is also good, and I love “Car Talk” and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on Saturday morning. I regularly listen to “The Splendid Table,” “The Commonwealth Club,” and, of course, the late-starting “Weekend Edition” on NPR.

Carolyne Heldman’s in-depth interview program, “CrossCurrents,” gets special commendation, as does the current news team. In the summer I am especially drawn to the live lectures, a real community service.

To put it mildly, I listen a lot to KAJX.

As to why, I’d give the Mickey Mouse Club answer: Why? Because I like you.


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