A Listener's Diary

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The Independent Culture
8am Listen to Los Angeles Police Department's radio scanner (www.policescanner.com) while eating breakfast - it's still the middle of the night over there: "Roger, Roger! Suspect approaching, late thirties, dark hair...". Not as informative as Today, but strangely gripping.

10am America is still asleep, so head East. The Voice of Russia's (www.wrn.org/stations/vor.html) daily, English-language programme is on. The presenter sounds just like the American actors who do voice-overs on film trailers: "This is the Voice of Russia!" Also listen in to the more frantic 106.8 via Virgin's World Tuner (www.virgin.net), a Russian music station with "uncompromising house and techno"

12am East Coast Americans are waking up and local stations begin a never- ending round of weather, traffic and sports reports. On WSYR's Breakfast With Bake, they warn that the traffic in Manhattan is going to be bad today - Clinton is in town.

3pm Vatican Radio (www.wrn.org/stations/vatican.html) has an on-demand English-language news programme. It's so upbeat, it could be mistaken for an Italian techno station. Hear the Pope on "The Family, the Cradle of Nature" and listen to "Pray With The Pope".

7pm A flood of syndicated agony aunts come online in America. From WIBC in Indianapolis (www.wibc.com/wibcfeed.html), Dr Laura Schlessinger, renowned for her "straight talk, no holds barred opinions", is giving Bob, a caller who "can't commit", a hard time. But the angst is continually interrupted by ads.

8pm Channel Africa's (www.wrn.org/stations/ africa.html) news show, from Johannesburg: "Hello everyone out there!" says the presenter. "And a special welcome to those of you surfing the Internet!" But the news is mostly depressing - a conference on African poverty and Winnie Mandela appearing in front of the Truth Commission.

10pm The infamous right-wing American shock-jock, Rush Limbaugh, is "temporarily unavailable", according to Timecast. Settle instead for David Gold, on WIFL (www.570klif.com) in Dallas, plugged as being so far right "he couldn't lean further if he tried". His topic for today is public health workers who have volunteered to try an Aids vaccine. "The amount of money we spend on Aids patients, you'd think we were treating them with gold-plated syringes," says perpetually brassed-off Gold.

12pm Before bed, listen in to Book Radio (www.bookradio.com), which is running an interview with Redmond O'Hanlon on his book No Mercy: A Journey To The Heart of The Congo. After hearing his stories of tribal warfare wish I'd stuck to the comfort of Radio 4's Book At Bedtime.

Milly Jenkins