I spend quite a bit of time driving through the western suburbs of Toronto, often taking our dog Peaches to the vet. While listening to the radio, I compose short essays in my mind--mostly about the radio. Every night this week I am contributing a little "radio" essay.
I have a theory that there are radio gods, who govern when we will get to hear our favourite songs on the radio. To please the gods, we must treat them properly. To cruise rapidly through the dial is not the way. For one thing, you will have to hear a lot of sub-par hip hop, gushing contest winners, Celine Dion songs, suggestive pizza ads, and--worst--the celebrity news as delivered by Ryan Seacrest.
Besides, do you really want to hear only the second half of your favourite song? I didn't think so.
So this is what you do. Push the up arrow to a new station. If you hear an advertisement or someone talking, move on to the next station. If it is a song, take a few seconds to recognize the song, and then decide how much you like it on a scale of 1 to 10. If you give a rating of 5 or less, move on.
If you rate the song at 6 or more, stay put. Most radio stations play a consistent style of music. This means there is a good chance you will also like the next few songs. And because you have found a congenial station, there is an excellent chance that, after 3 or 4 songs (and maybe a pizza ad or two) the radio gods will bless you and you will get to enjoy "Brown Eyed Girl" all the way through.