I usually travel every Thursday morning. I leave the house very close to 6:00 AM and arrive at the seminary where I teach between 8:00 and 8:30 AM. For many people, this would be a long trip, especially if they travel alone. I have arranged my schedule in such a way that is divided between my prayer time and my time with my traveling radio friends.
I start my journey by listening to 105.9 MHz WQXR FM-HD1, the New York classical music station. The person in charge of the morning section is Jeff Spurgeon. I love classical music, but I also love the time that I spend with Jeff Spurgeon. I like his vast musical knowledge, his erudition, his humor, and his ability to see beauty in so many things. A couple of times, he was absent and I really missed him. Within the last few weeks, the station had to do their yearly fundraising campaign (105.9 is a listener supported station). Even though Jeff is good at it, I felt that it was an imposition to him and to me, but a necessary assignment to survive. I almost felt like contributing a vast amount of money so that he will go back to what he does so well and stop pleading for money.
By the time I reach I-95, I can no longer hear the classical station, so I turn to 99.1 MHz Star - FM-HD1, the Christian station. I like the hosts Scott and Dawn, but I am still getting used to them. About two years ago, the station fired Johnny Stone and Friends, with whom I traveled for a number of years. For about one year, I did not listen to the station. I protested. I started to listen again late last year and they are slowly growing on me. They are very much what I consider “sweet kitchen talk”. The philosophy of the station is to be a family radio station where you can listen with the whole family and not turn it off when the children come into the room. For that reason, they were very expressive about the forthcoming delivery of Dawn's baby. Now that the baby is born, Dawn is back at work. Scott seeks to be a good radio announcer and collector of important daily Christian activities.
I bid farewell to Scott and Dawn as I approach the PA Turnpike. I greet my new traveling companions from 99.5 MHz WJBR FM-HD 1. They are John and Charlie. They are my funny, relaxing, and sometimes puzzling traveling companions. They love to laugh and tease one another and they have some of the best chemistry. The music they play is completely secular and sometimes I forget that I have left Star 99.1 and say to myself, “This is really strange to have this music on 99.1.” As Jeff Spurgeon is my classical friend, and Scott and Dawn are my everyday Christian friends, John and Charlie are my world savvy friends. They remind me of the music of the 80's & 90's and introduce me to the music of today.
By 8:30 AM, I arrive at my working place. I am relaxed, in a very good mood, and ready to face my work schedule which usually ends around 10:00 PM when I start traveling home or go to a nearby hotel because I have to stay for another day. I greatly appreciate my Thursday morning traveling companions because they prepare me for a long day. I have never met any of them in person, but I know so much about them. With their personalities and their personal and professional gifts, they have made my travel more enjoyable and also made me a better colleague and professor.