Today, I am thankful for Vermont Public Radio.
I don't have television, I don't read the news online, and I don't read the paper. Instead, I have the local TV station on my Facebook feed for hyper-local news, and I listen to VPR for everything else. My imagination is fertile enough that I can picture the places and situations I hear about on the radio without having video or pictures thrown at me, and because the stories on VPR come from a variety of sources, I feel better informed and don't get bored with the same news loop being replayed every 15 minutes.
Listening to VPR is also a coping mechanism for me. Being slightly obsessive-compulsive means that there's constant chatter going in my head (along with constant music), and if I don't have something engaging to listen to, I get stuck thinking the same things over and over again. Most commercial radio stations only make this worse, because they play the same songs over and over again (especially the stations that restrict themselves to a particular era) and the DJs and commercials are so inane as to drop my attention instantly.
There's a reason I set my computer's MP3 player to shuffle through three thousand tracks, and why my music collection is so varied. I never know what I'm going to be in the mood for, and I don't want to hear the same song twice in a week.
That's another wonderful thing about VPR -- it has separate frequencies devoted exclusively to classical music, and some of the shows focus on genres I don't know very well (like pipe organ music) or test listeners by merging one composer's tune with another's style, which is great exercise for the brain. Coming from the land of WFCR, which mixes news and classical, it's wonderful to be able to decide which I'd rather listen to at any time of day.
Which reminds me, it's time to break out the RCA cables, get my hi-fi set up, and decide where the speakers are going to go in the craft room. Then I'll see if my little radio receiver gets a clear signal out here in the boonies.