A couple of days ago, I was wondering how else I could “explore” London digitally, following on from my previous article ‘London: but on Google Maps’. I was listening to The Clash’s iconic song London Calling, which gave me an idea. Perhaps one of the best ways to explore London is not to see what it is, but what it is not. So, using the website Radio Garden, I decided to explore different radio stations around the world to see what they were broadcasting. Radio Garden has a globe with green spots that represent different radio broadcast locations. By rotating and pitching the globe, you are able to place your circular cursor over the world’s radio stations, enabling you to tune into what they are playing. My method was simple: close my eyes and spin the globe, thereby randomly selecting radio stations which I could listen into. Crucially, the radio station which is closest to your cursor starts playing, meaning that I did not need to perfectly land on a radio station each time to get a song playing.
- While Capital London was playing Over Now by Calvin Harris and the Weeknd, KIBH in Seaward [Alaska] was playing Man by Neko Case.
- While BBC Radio 1 was playing Midnight Sky By Miley Cyrus, Radio Si 103.7 in Yekaterinburg [Russia] was playing Lovefool by Twocolors.
- While BBC Radio 2 was playing Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, Karur Thedal FM in Karur [India] was playing Karuva Karuva Payale (From “Karuppan”) by D.Imman.
- While BBC Radio 3 was playing Desplat: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Emmanuel Pahud, Banana FM エフエム和歌山 87.7 FM in Wakayama [Japan] was playing Kaze No Tsuyoi Hi by Back Number.
- While BBC Radio 4 was talking about food safety and pringle’s packaging, Sonshine FM 98.5 in Perth [Australia] was playing Catching Feelings by Drax Project – Feat. SIX60.
- While Magic Radio was playing Wild World by Maxi Priest, KLHT 1040AM in Honolulu [Hawaii] was delivering a religious sermon about ‘bragging on Jesus’.
- While Heart was playing Ain’t It Funny by Jennifer Lopez, Rotana FM in Riyadh [Saudi Arabia] was playing Ana La Taraket El Hawa by Rabeh Saqer.
- While Heart extra was playing Hotel California by Eagles, Happenings Radio in Lagos [Nigeria] was playing Holy Mountain by DJ Khaled – Feat. Buju Banton, Sizzla, Mavado & 070 Shake.
- While Smooth London was playing Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel, Art Radio in Lariano [Italy] was playing Pensare Male by The Kolors & Elodie.
- While Absolute Radio 70s was playing Get It Right Next Time by Gerry Rafferty, Mais FM 93.5 in Araguari MG [Brazil] was playing Drown by Martin Garrix & Clinton Kane.
In my second experiment, I discovered a profound, but perhaps conspicuous, truth. No matter how disconnected we feel from the outside world, even as our city’s, nation’s and neighbour’s lockdowns begin to ease, we are each connected by the miraculous technology that our ingenious species has created. Companionship, through both musical art and congenial communication, floats on the airwaves measured in megabits and gigahertz. There is something comforting in the fact that I don’t need a passport to listen to the radio in Croatia or in Croydon – Lambeth or Luxembourg. So next time you have an essay to finish, or something to drift off to, why not try some foreign radio stations? You might not know what gems you will find.