Since I grew up in an academic household in western Massachusetts, you can take it as a given that I’ve absorbed public radio all my life. It was always on in the kitchen, in the car, and was a primary source of information and entertainment. When I moved to Miami in 1989, I traded WFCR for WLRN – a different kind of station but still the vital NPR link in my life. I lost it for a few years when I moved to Key West but lucky for me, NPR followed me down and WLRN established a series of transmitters to send the signal all the way down the Keys. The different frequencies along the islands have long been programmed into my car radios. Eleven years ago, when we moved to our current house and ditched the cable, NPR became a primary source of news again and has remained so, through different careers and through the increasing importance of the internet (one of the cool things about the internet is it allows me to listen to WFCR on occasion, when the WLRN signal is out or when I feel like some Baroque music on a Sunday morning — funny to hear the western Mass. news and weather while sitting in Key West, but nice, too).
This week I got to contribute in more than just membership. I recorded a Letter from Key West for Under the Sun, an innovative new South Florida enterprise started by producers Alicia Zuckerman and Dan Grech. This essay was about one of my favorite Key West events, the city’s Holiday Parade. There was a lot you can’t squeeze into three minutes — the sight of City Clerk Josephine Parker dressed as an angel and riding the back of a fire truck; the little kids working so hard on their juggling and gymnastics, the inline hockey team’s sticks tapping the pavement. But I got in what I could — including recording the sound, which was a new challenge but wound up being fun. So here it is. I’ve been thinking for a long time about attempting the essay; I didn’t think it would happen on the radio of all places but that just makes it all the sweeter. Cheers, and special thanks to Alicia Zuckerman for guiding me through the attempt and dealing with my not-all-that-flexible work schedule and to my husband, Mark, for shooting the photos and being the all-around supportive and wonderful guy he is.