On Grandma’s Silver Radio

If you asked what the sound of my childhood is, it’s the sound of my grandmother’s portable radio. More specifically, the sound of Detroit Tigers baseball games broadcasting in the summers of my youth.

What I didn’t grasp at the time is what that particular silver rectangular Sony radio was doing. The physical aspect of being at the game, its sounds and smells in particular, were pushed through the channels with a patina of comforting AM static. A breeze and an airplane shadow on a humid, expansive Detroit day.

A child’s mind craves the pictures, the video. What these voices were portraying wasn’t news. It was about connecting you to a place, both imaginary and real. My Grandmother lived for these games, and the moment. I get it now.

The micro-gestures in the voice and the capacity for emotion. Memory. Somewhere, this is happening.


“Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit—all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: So much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart.” – A Year With Swollen Appendices, Brian Eno, 1996

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