Its just after 8:00 on a Friday night just north of the Arctic circle and with seven hundred souls in town, no one is outside. Its not bad weather, that doesn't stop anything but planes and government workers up here. Its not a curfew, this is serious, its... its.... Well actually its BINGO. Down south (especially in Tillsonburg) I knew a few bingo nuts. Well their devotion to the game pales in comparison to the norths love of the game (second only to Hockey). There is a $5,000 dollar jackpot tonight, compared to the usual $1,000. I'm perfectly comfortable with the statement that there is not a local person tonight who does not have their radio on at this very moment, dabber in hand waiting for the blessed BIG game. I had at least a dozen people ask me today how many cards I had, All the employee's I asked this evening had a minimum of $100.00 in cards. I was looked upon as a leper for choosing not to play bingo tonight, and oddly enough everyone I spoke with today had a feeling tonight was their night, and tomorrow morning they would be in for that new couch or TV.
Which leads me to a topic I don't think I've covered in the past year. Northern Radio. It shares many of the characteristics of southern Radio, Its broadcast over free public airwaves, you need a radio to listen to it, music is played and people talk on it. Did I mention its advertisement free? Just like Satellite radio, well maybe not quite, actually not at all. Radio in Northern communities is used to exchange information. There is a DJ however their job most resembles a phone operator. People call the radio to talk to the community, to talk to their neighbors, to talk about relatives, to read bible passages, to find something they've lost, they just call radio. Its only on for a few hours a day (apparently at random however everyone local knows exactly when its coming on), They put on some music, usually Johnny Cash or gospel and you get to hear a couple of bars when you hear the phone ring, the DJ answers the phone and someone spends 10 minutes asking if anyone has seen their son and to tell him to call home, another couple of bars of music and the phone rings again, this time someone wants to sell their TV. Another couple of bars and the phone, bible reading, music, phone, want to borrow money for smokes. Oh yeah, you don't need a phone to be on the radio, you can use your CB if you don't have a phone and it'll go on air as well. And on it goes 5 seconds of music then that damn ringing phone, and someone discussing the weather, their relatives in whale Cove, can anyone loan them ammo or gas. Its a phenomenon I never would have envisioned in the south. The bottom line is Radio is a public telephone for the community to speak to each other, and no matter how frustrating I find it, I also switch it on as soon as I get to work and listen intently for the occasional word (that I understand) to see if their talking about me.
Does that make me paranoid?
Friday, October 20, 2006