Why is Chilean radio so awful?

Driving through the Atacama Desert we switched on the radio and were delighted to find that the airwaves were filled with warm chatter entirely incongruous with the harsh, bleak environment all around us.

Our joy soon turned to dashboard-banging dismay when bad eighties cheese followed bad eighties cheese. We drove the interminably straight Panamerican Highway with our ears ringing to the sounds of Soundgarden, Madonna’s ‘Spanish Lullaby’, Boy George’s ‘Karma Chameleon’, ‘Maneater’ by Hall & Oates and ‘Betty Davis Eyes’ by Kim Carnes.

Desperately switching stations we were treated to Bryan Adams‘ smash ‘Everything I do (I do it for you)’ at least a hundred times, and even worse, 2 Unlimited screeching ‘No Limits’. When Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ aired for the third time I nearly put an end to it all.

The local music wasn’t much better: Spanish power ballads with lots of warbling about “mi Corazon” with overblown vocals and instrumentals almost invariably involving panpipes.

No wonder Chile’s roads are lined with so many shrines to the victims of road accidents. It’s not so much people falling asleep at the wheel whilst driving the ruler-straight roads as being driven to suicide by the endless wash snares on the radio.

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