Mardi Gras Muses Toss Radio Beads



Today I would like to share a wonderful example of radio’s ubiquity. It’s an instance that requires a bit of cultural background, so bear with me.

The Carnival season here in New Orleans abounds with parades large and small. From the marching krewes that take to the streets to the huge “Super Krewes” with their multi-tiered floats, there is one constant at all parades: throws.

Yes, I am using the word “throw” as a noun. “Throws” are the overall term for beads, doubloons, cups, dolls, spears, coconuts, and anything else that is thrown to the waiting throngs as a Mardi Gras parade rolls.  The rarer and more exotic the throw, the more prestige in caching it. Think of it as similar to catching a baseball during a game while sitting in the stands. The feeling is similar, although during Carnival it is quite the bombardment.

This year the Krewe of Muses initiated a new throw that I though I would share with our readers: a radio. Take a good look at the picture above. With their satirical theme riffing off James Bond this year (009) gadgets never had a better time to debut, as this throw combining beads, medallion, a puzzle, and a working radio demonstrates. Mark it down, 2009 was the first year that radios were thrown at Mardi Gras!

Granted, these were not the most sophisticated of devices, but then your basic FM receiver does not need to be. Running on a replaceable watch battery the back of the device has a simple on / off switch and a scan button that allows you to go through the available stations. Pretty nifty for something you catch off a float!

I bring this up not only as an interesting anecdote, but also because it demonstrates something important. The technology needed to access radio’s gifts is inexpensive. For all intents and purposes, it is practically free. As belts continue to tighten and times get harder, radio will continue to demonstrate its value through ubiquity and reach.

Think about it: you can tune in radio from your Mardi Gras beads! It just doesn’t get any easier than that.

Photo of Muses “Radio Beads” courtesy of George “Loki” Williams, used with permission


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