Being Alone

Without feeling lonely


I keep reading that loneliness is at epidemic proportions today.

I know that suicides are up in the developed world.

I know that I see couples at restaurants, nice restaurants, expensive restaurants, sitting across from each other, looking at their phones, alone with their screens.

I know that human beings have a deep need for intimacy, for human connection at more than a superficial level.

I know that without it, we begin to despair. And we know what despair leads to…

Now consider this:

What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we’re not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people, particularly if we don’t find speaking easy? Is sex a cure for loneliness, and if it is, what happens if our body or sexuality is considered deviant or damaged, if we are ill or unblessed with beauty? And is technology helping with these things? Does it draw us closer together, or trap us behind screens?

That’s Olivia Laing from her book, “The Lonely City: Adventures in The Art of Being Alone.” It’s worth your time.

Radio has always been a companion. In America, perhaps more than in any other nation on earth, driving is usually a solitary experience. Alone, with our radio.

The art of being a successful air talent is making each one of those listening, alone in their cars, or at their desks, feel as if you are sitting there with them, sharing the drive, sharing the tedium of the office, sharing their life.

Reading liners, no matter how well written, can never help you achieve that.


You can look at it as a calling, or public service if you wish, but you need to take it to heart.

Someone, perhaps almost every one, who hears your voice today, needs to feel you are there with them.

They need you to be more than another voice shouting as they pass you in the dark.

So, if you know you have this within you, it’s time to share it, even if that means leaving the station you’re on for another, one that is still interested in Radio as companion.

At its best, what you do is more than just a job. The best air talent have always understood this.

It’s time, isn’t it?

You already knew it.