Russ Johnson has just released his new audio book “Tales of the Radio Traveler,” which embellishes 36 stories from 18 countries with sounds, interviews and music he recorded on location. It is now available on Audible and iTunes. Listeners can experience the rumble of an elephant sloshing through a swamp in Nepal and the horn of the snake charmer who greeted him at a tiny jungle airport. They can listen to Arthur C. Clarke speculate about a world where reality becomes mostly virtual and hear shouts and warnings as Russ almost gets run over in an oxcart race in Myanmar.
“Radio has long been regarded as the theater of the mind, the notion that sounds can often convey more than words. Fortunately, I have had a sound recorder or video camera with me on most of my travels,” says Russ.
You can hear samples here: http://talesoftheradiotraveler.com
Some of the stories began their life as radio features such as his one-hour NPR documentary on a coup d’etat in Fiji during the holidays as choirs sang Christmas carols and he was suspected of being CIA, and listening to two old guys in Boonville, California give him a lesson in an almost forgotten folk language called Boontling, where the highmen of the highheelers (deputies) were brought in to break up a fister (bar fight) among the squirrel bacon (locals).
Listening to radio, from Wolfman Jack blasting over the border from Mexico to a ham radio operator tapping out Morse code from Borneo, made Russ realize that the universe was much larger than the Minneapolis neighborhood where he grew up. Radio was his escape and his inspiration to travel the world, but not before his own career as a broadcaster. In “Tales of the Radio Traveler” he tells stories about radio, its science and culture, detailing his own, sometimes strange experiences in his thirty-plus year career as a broadcaster and streaming on the internet.