Hat Tip To Marion Wilson.
I grew up in Hancock with radio as a source of news and entertainment. I still know that the lack of TV in our home until I was in sixth grade was a blessing. I enjoyed radio so much I would ‘play radio’ as a child. With the Stevens Point Daily Journal as my news copy, the printed ads as commercials, and my dad’s pocket watch for perfect timing I fashioned many a news program. That timing I was learning would show up again when I ‘walked up a ramp’ of many a record while on the air in a real broadcast studio. After broadcasting school my first job was at a small radio station in Sturgeon Bay. Today I still love my AM radio stations, the scratch from static, and seeking out far-away stations late at night. I remain a critic over the changing style of broadcasting, and what passes for ‘entertainment’ far too often over the radio airwaves.
It is for all of the above that I found this email so wonderful. The highlights are mine.
“See you on the radio”..I say that every week.
A peculiar phrase, some people think, for anyone to speak.
I’ve got a piece of mail or two, up on my office shelf,
Complaining that the sentence seems to contradict itself.
“Dear Mr. Osgood,” someone wrote, “That sign off is absurd.
Radio is for the ear…the song or spoken word.
The medium for seeing is, without a doubt, TV.
We therefore call it ‘video.’ That’s Latin for ‘I see.’
So please don’t say that anymore. You really should know better.”
That’s a gentle paraphrase of what was in this viewer’s letter.
“Dear Sir,” I then wrote back to him, and this was my reply:
I do believe that you are wrong, and let me tell you why.
I’ve worked some years in radio, and television, too.
And though it’s paradoxical it nonetheless is true
That radio is visual, much more so than TV.
And there’s plenty of good reason why that paradox should be.
You insist that on the radio there are no pictures there.
You say it’s only for the ear…but I say “au contraire.”
There are fascinating pictures on the radio, you see
That are far more picturesque than any pictures on TV.
No television set that’s made, no screen that you can find,
Can compare with that of radio: the theatre of the mind.
Where the pictures are so vivid, so spectacular and real,
That there isn’t any contest, or at least that’s how I feel.
The colors are more colorful, the reds and greens and blues.
And more vivid yet more subtle than television’s hues.
The dimensions of the radio are truly to be treasured
Infinite the size of screen diagonally measured,
With resolution so acute TV cannot compare.
We can whisper in the listener’s ear and take him anywhere.
And you tell me that I cannot see the audience I touch?
Let me tell you now a secret…my experience is such
That although the room I work in may be very plain and small…
In a way that’s quite miraculous, it isn’t small at all.
I am there inside the radio, the one beside the bed.
And it’s me you hear when it goes off…come on now sleepyhead.
I can see you in the morning…I can see you coast to coast
As you sip your glass or orange juice and bite into your toast.
I am with you as you brush your teeth and as you shave your face.
You may think you are alone but I am with you everyplace.
As car radios tune in each morning to The Osgood Files.
I see the lines of traffic stretching endlessly for miles.
Not a hundred or a thousand miles…a million there must be.
And I’m riding along with them. This is radio you see.
And I’m on the Jersey Turnpike, on the throughway and the Hutch,
And the Eisenhower Expressway helping people keep in touch,
And the California freeways and the Houston traffic funnel.
I may lose you for a little while as you go through the tunnel.
But suddenly I’m there again, some episode to tell,
To nobody’s surprise, because they know me very well.
For my voice is with them every day and when it disappears,
They know it comes right back again, it’s been that way for years.
I’ve been riding with them every day for such a long, long time
They are willing to put up with me when I resort to rhyme.
And that may be the ultimate and quintessential test
That proves beyond the slightest doubt that radio is best.
A friend will always stick with you…though your poems may not scan.
I’ll see you on the radio…I can, you see, I can.