Broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered, 24 September 1999
When Dick Gibson was a little boy he was not Dick Gibson. And he could get Omaha, could get Detroit, could get Memphis; New Orleans he could get. And once—it was not a particularly clear or cold night; for that matter it may even have rained earlier—he got Seattle, Washington. He listened almost until sign-off, hoping that the staff announcer would say something about the wattage put out by the station. Then, after the midnight news but before the amen of the sermonette, the station faded irrecoverably. He’d learned never to fool with the dial, that it did no good when a signal waned to reclaim it with some careful, surgical twist a half-dozen kilocycles to the right or left. It was best to wait through the babble and static for the return of the electronic tide. Often it would come, renewed for its hiatus, its cosmic romp and drift, strongly present again after its mysterious trip to the universe. This time it didn’t.