Reverend Janglebones’ Soapbox: Moth Radio Hour Comes to Dayton

After ten years of being pestered by local community leaders, NPR’s Moth Radio Hour finally succumbed to their twisted arm and proclaimed “Uncle!” by coming to Dayton last Thursday, in-the-flesh!

For those of you who haven’t already been swept away by their program, the Moth’s incredible variety of true stories are told live, on a timer and with no notes of any kind. Stories told to you, in person, by the very people who lived them.

A sold-out house in the historic Victoria Theatre provided a gracious and dignified atmosphere for this intimate evening featuring two very talented Dayton locals among the prodigious orators.

I can’t give anything away, as it hasn’t aired yet, but there were rolling waves of gut laughter and a decent chance of ocular precipitation throughout the entirety of this heartfelt evening.

This was a particularly exciting experience for me, having been a fan of the show for some time. Not in the way that everybody says they love NPR or podcasts at parties loudly enough to be heard being sophisticated, but because this one truly stands out.

Just as there is no shortage of young people trying to convince their peers they’re too cool for television, there is also no shortage of people recording themselves talking, these days, and posting it on the internet.

So, guaranteed, whatever you’re into, there are far more hours of podcasts about that subject than hours left in your life. In fact, 2000 new podcasts start every week, so finding a quality source of audio education or entertainment can be kind of a task.

The true value of this radio program is in the trust you can put in their programmers and storytellers to curate something really worth your time, and allowing you, the listener, to indulge in a welcome surprise.

Even among the numerous other quality programs in the progressive arsenal of NPR, the level of relatable content in the Moth is always somehow like a prescription for our shortcomings or our preconceived notions. No matter who you are.

The tradition of storytelling was the first form of bonding in human civilization that reached beyond the basic animal needs. The tradition of passing on knowledge through sound is, possibly one of the most innately human activities in which one can engage, whether you’re the teller or the listener.

Thankfully, the Moth has thousands of years of human oratory tradition and a humanitarian soul conceptually backing it up which makes it something of a torch-bearer in this respect. Something like a beacon you can count on every week to take you on a walk around the block in the normally ill-fitting shoes of another person.

And these stories are just that. Other people’s shoes. Human stories in their very essence. They provide the rare opportunity to experience a world unlike any you’ve ever known. To earn compassion. To learn something new. To explore, even further, what it is to be in this world, together. At the same time.

Listen for the airing on WYSO, and you’ll be glad you took the time to hear some stories. You’re only human, after all.

Brian Yoder
Reporter

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