Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Radio Free Europe

There is an odd thing about listening to the radio here in Germany. None of the radio stations seem strong enough to maintain a signal. When I walk with my Walkman, there are a lot of stations but they just slip away as you walk. I have a radio stereo in my apartment but it doesn't get good reception and thus I can pick up only two stations. But my Walkman at night at home is great. On both AM and FM, there are a lot of stations.

Also, at night, one can pick up the BBC in English and AFN, or American Armed Forces Network radio. The BBC news and discussion programs are always good. I once heard a discussion of modern architecture from London that spoke about the importance of the contemporary art museum building in Cincinnati. AFN can be depended on for some good American music and they carry AP network news on the hour. All of us, in fact, have been impressed by the fact that most of the music one hears in Germany is either British or America pop music in English. I've asked a couple of Germans about this and they tell me that Germans like the sound of English and it doesn't matter that much if they can't always follow the lyrics. I have cable at the apartment which gets me a lot of German television and there is one program in particular in which people compete in karaoke. But it is karaoke in English! You can tell that the performers have practiced a lot so that as they sing they sound like native speakers of English but then immediately afterward they are back in Deutsch. On one program part of the competition is to sing a song impromptu and then you can tell sometimes that they actually know very little English.

One great thing about my experience in Germany has been the willingness of Germans to speak English if you need help. And they don't seem offended by an American's stumbling attempts to speak German.


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