Yesterday we went to the headquarters of Madrid’s equivalent to National Public Radio, which also happened to house a television network. It was interesting to see those dozens of rooms, each with its own tiny staff – I imagine one is a technician and the other a producer – and its own little booth behind a glass wall.
These in contrast with the high-ceilinged studios that were the venues of the different television programs filmed in that same complex. We walked through lights, cameras and varied sets, some of which had actual people who were actually airing as we strolled on by.
It was interesting, even fun.
And yet. It’s a strange sensation whenever I walk into a radio station, especially a radio booth – things look both familiar and unfamiliar, and I always feel something tugging in the area between my chest and my gut.
For almost five years (a fifth of my existence!), radio was my life. Monday to Thursday, I would come in to work at 3 p.m. and, (sort of) ready with my pop and entertainment news of the day, take my seat behind the mic. My co-host, the beautiful Andi Manzano-Reyes, would be to my left; the monitors for the music and the commercials would be to my right, with the old CD players under them; and the console, with its buttons and knobs, would be directly in front of me. It was my office space and my sanctuary.
Radio saw me through my junior year of college, my first television stint, graduation. I had radio as I moved from amateur to pro basketball coverage, as I grew from a girl of 19 to a woman of 24, as I made decisions that would deeply affect the person I would eventually become. I met through radio some of the most important and influential people in my life – friends and mentors who have supported me through the years amid triumphs, failures and good and bad choices.
And the music! I like to think of myself as a sponge when it comes to that kind of stuff – I love rock in most forms, but will listen to almost anything. But pop music – both great and terrible – defined an era of my life. Whether it was Flo-Rida’s “Right Round,” which I still can’t listen to without cringing internally; or Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”; or any one of two dozen Katy Perry or Taylor Swift songs – it’s all a part of something I can’t ever completely leave behind, and which continues to help define the journalist I am and have yet to be.
That trip to a radio station was a nostalgic reminder of the last five years. A shoutout to my dear friend Andi, who taught me to always have the time of my life.