As an only child, I relied heavily on the radio from a very early age as to stave off boredom, but what was once a childhood passion of mine grew into an interest that sparked my love for music of all kinds. As I got older however, and craved new sounds and styles, I became acutely aware of the lack of true variety that is offered on the radio. Now as a full-blown adult, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that by and large, the radio sucks.
Ok, I’m fully aware that this statement is not completely accurate, as the quality of radio programming varies from city to city. For example, I’m rarely disappointed when browsing through stations while in NYC. But as a semi-nomad, I’ve lived in my fair share of cities, and I can say that the general consensus is that radio is whack.
There’s an interesting piece called “Radio’s Losing Strategy” that highlights some of the key reasons the radio business has been on the decline for several years. It cites that advent of digital media (iPod, Internet radio, etc.), massive media consolidations; and the overwhelming number of commercials are a significant factor. It also states that stations rely too heavily on their morning shows for revenue and that radio mostly appeals to Gen X-ers and baby boomers. I can definitely dig these facts, but there are some other aspects of the radio biz that get under my skin.
The main pet peeve of mine is the shameless repetition of the same songs throughout the day. And wouldn’t nice to hear more from not so well-known talented artists from time to time, rather than the same handful of pop stars? It seems as though the many of these stations fear going out on a limb, and even playing a random track from a major pop stars album.
Honestly, I miss the radio. Not just what it meant to me as a child, but how it once served to provide more joy than frustration. As long as this stale trend in radio continues, my iTunes playlist will continue to grow.