My regular yoga class was cancelled this morning, so I got up at about the same time and took a ride instead. I had been advised by Bill Milleker from Accenture that a dawn ride along the Lake Shore Trail toward downtown was a worthwhile experience, so I headed that way.
The side roads are all but empty at that hour; the interstates, that’s a different story. As I headed down 33rd, I heard a helicopter overhead – Channel 7 was on their way to spy on the traffic – I could see them hovering over the expressway. By the time I crossed over I90, the traffic was pretty well plugged up: red tail lights as far as I could see.
[An aside: I expected Chicago AM radio to be similar in content to New York City AM radio. I based my prediction on the rather homogeneous mix of FM stations I’ve found driving around the eastern third of the US. You almost always find, everywhere you go, a classic rock station, a country station, alternative rock station, an easy listening station, an NPR station (news, jazz or classical), a college station and a Christian station. If there is variation, it is typically in the number of stations of a particular type. Often, for example, you’ll find more country stations in the southern US, each having a slightly different flavor: classic country, pop country, etc. I blame this on changes in FCC rules that allow media companies to own multiple outlets in many cities.
In my mind, it stands to reason that AM would be similar. In NYC, there are at least two stations that offer traffic and weather together every 10 minutes: WCBS 880 (8 minutes past the hour) and WINS 1010 (three minutes past the hour). Both are all news, all the time. Heck, even Boston has one (WBZ 1030, three minutes past the hour), though that is only all news from 5am to 8pm). I’m a radio junkie. I know way more AM stations than any person should. Except maybe those shortwave guys.
In Chicago, there are no all news AM stations as far as I can tell. I don’t listen in the daytime, so they might be on then. The most interesting station overnight is WGN 720. They have multiple people who talk to each other and to interesting guests, and the topics are generally not political at all. I even like this station, when I can get it, in CT. There is a Catholic talk station(WNTD 950), a hard right talk station (WIND 560) and a middle right talk station, (WLS 890). It’s been interesting listening to the variety of (right leaning) opinions on the election.
That’s a long winded way of saying I’m surprised that you can’t get traffic reports any more frequently overnight than on the half hour. This s a big city, there is almost always some kind of traffic SNAFU happening, even at 3am. ]
Although I was about 15 minutes late for sunrise, I was not disappointed (I am, though disappointed by how fast the days shorten in August since I can’t ride as early and can’t ride as late). When I got to the lake, the sun was about two sideways fingers above the horizon, and still that cantaloupe orange color with just a whisper of pink that says “It’s gonna be a hot one.”
The lake itself was placid. There were a few ripples out there – just enough to give the surface of the water a little cantaloupe hued texture, but with vast stretches of purple calm. A couple of seagulls flew low over the beach, looking for breakfast. They had to hurry, the indiscriminate tractor raking the sand was already scouring the beach for yesterday’s leftovers.
It was a beautiful ride. Sorry I didn’t take pictures. I’m going to get up early and try to catch the sunrise tomorrow.