The Perfect Family Road Trip Soundtrack

12 Jul

Photo Credit


I love CBC Radio. It’s always interesting, intelligent, and relevant. All the shows are great, but I especially enjoy Metro Morning, Q with Jian Ghomeshi, The Debaters, Quirks and Quarks, Writers & Company, The Next Chapter, Under the Influence, Ontario Today, and the show that got me hooked on CBC years ago:


The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean.

“The Vinyl Cafe is a radio show heard on CBC Radio in Canada, on selected public radio stations in the United States, on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 159, on Podcast, and liveonline. The show is written and hosted by Stuart McLean and features stories, essays and music (both live and recorded). 

The Vinyl Cafe stories are about Dave, owner of the second hand record store, and they are collected in books and on CD. The stories also feature Dave’s wife, Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie, and assorted friends and neighbours.

The motto of Dave’s store – and of the radio show – is “We May Not Be Big, But We’re Small”.

Vinyl Cafe website


One reason why listening to CBC with your children is great is that they put a high standard of language usage– speaking clearly, using appropriate language (less slang), employing a wider vocabulary than normal media outlets. There are no ads and no political leanings/corporate bias because it’s a public program. On the whole, they treat everyone with respect and sensitive topics are presented fairly but a warning is provided if the description is graphic or may contain triggers.

If you’re planning a road trip this summer with the family and are looking for something that you call all listen to, the Vinyl Cafe podcast is perfect! It’s entertaining and mixes funny stories (appropriate for all ages) and music (usually emerging Canadian artists), all hosted by Mr. McLean.


Stuart McLean, Storyteller Extrodinaire

Photo Credit


Stuart McLean is a very, very talented writer and storyteller and has a distinctive voice (affectionately parodied by CBC’s The Irrelevant Show!). Biker and I saw him at a live show and it was SO GOOD! You can hear the varying tones,  inflections, and dramatic pauses he employs while he tells the stories and engages the listener. This is great for kids to listen to, a good example of how to tell a story and public speaking– both important skills.

Listening activities are also great because of how much visual stimulation that we face everyday. Listening, instead of watching, allows children to develop their auditory skills, practice concentration (paying attention and following a storyline), use their imagination, and expand their vocabularies.


For families with teenagers, you can all enjoy Under the Influence, a show about the marketing world. Maybe get them to turn off their iPods for an episode so that you can all listen together and discuss. Media literacy is very important for adolescents and teenagers to learn because media influence is just so pervasive in our lives now. This show is always very interesting and gives you a mix of marketing history, strategies, and behind-the-ad stories.


Go to the show’s websites to download episodes. You can download the podcasts there or from iTunes. You can also get the Vinyl Cafe books and audiobooks from your library or bookstore or just listen to the Vinyl Cafe Stories show here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: