A little over twenty (yes, twenty) years ago, I had a problem. I was about to embark on a life as a radio programmer on WORT-FM, doing a program which (in those days, anyway) was supposed to start out sounding a little like a program of world music and end up sounding odd. In the salad days before world pop entered our common life, the world part of the equation was more or less ethnomusicology, and the odd bit was easy. I had a good model in the work of Bill Milosz, whose program I preceded.

Whatever trepidation I felt wasn't the problem. Rather, the problem concerned what I'd call myself when I went on the air and - more seriously - what I'd call my program.

The first part was easy, really; I decided to be myself. I figured that the physical anonymity afforded by radio was such that I needn't feel particularly exposed by being exactly who I was in real life, and that being myself seemed to me to grant me some authenticity as a programmer (not everyone holds this view, nor do they need to. It was a personal decision).

But the title for my would-be program was something else entirely. I was stuck. Everything sounded either hokey or taxonomic. So, I turned to the Oblique Strategies for advice. I got out my trusty deck, shuffled the cards, and cut the deck to draw one:

remember .those quiet evenings

In that phrase, I realized was the goal I'd actually set for myself - that of remembering or recovering those times when listening was a pleasure, and to do so in the face of the oncoming working week (which is always something that one faces when programming on Sunday evening). Since the phrase was a teensy bit long, I simply made it an acronym.

And that is how RTQE came to be.

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