Boom what you say…

March 31, 2010 § 1 Comment

The radio has seriously gotten worse over the past years.
And I’m not talking about the past ten or twenty years.  I’m talking about the decline of radio since last year, or even just in the past few months.

I hear a lot about writing and journalism as a dying media, newspapers and books being replaced by blogs and the internet in general.  Or even the literary agent that had the audacity to tell me that being an editor is becoming more obsolete and less important.  And though that could definitely have a great three point argument behind it, words and books and writing will always be around.  They’re just shifting resources is all.  And now that we’ve got the Kindle and the Nook and the highly anticipated iPad, books are actually becoming more “popular.”  I mean, who isn’t going to buy an iPad?  Not many people, if even for the sole reason that Apple created it.  And if Apple says the thing to do is read a book on an electronic device, that is what culture is going to do.

All this to say that books are not the dying culture.  Writing is not the dying artform.  It’s simply changing is all.
But radio?  Radio I really do believe is in danger of becoming extinct.

And I don’t mean that there will be no more radio ever again, although that could very well be a possibility. And I don’t mean that music is dying off, it won’t.  It can’t.  Because I don’t think there is a single person out there who hates music.  And as long as someone likes it, we will always have it.

But I’m talking about radio as my generation has come to know it as.  Not as a story-teller, broadcasting The Lone Ranger, and not as a way of informing the people, such as the way FDR used it for fireside chats.  We have TV and cinemas to do that now.  I’m talking about simply playing music for entertainment.  If something doesn’t happen soon, radio could be no more.

Especially with MP3s and Zunes and iPods that now all come with a car adapter so you can play it in your car through the tape player or an unused radio signal.  In fact, the only reason I listen to the radio now is become my car adapter for my iPod broke, so I’ve been suffering through Bad Romance, Lady Antebellum and wanting my BedRock-ed and DJ morning talk shows.  My roommate and I were discussing how soon Apple is going to come out with a car complete with a Mac in place of the radio system in which you can listen to your own iTunes or connect to Pandora or even listen to NPR as you’re driving the highways.

You know radio knows it’s suffering.  95.7 has been giving away money everyday at 5pm recently.  The concept is you go on their website and enter in the drawing and then they announce the winner and you get your bills paid.  It’s a nice enough idea because people will always be drawn to the idea of free money, but eventually no one’s going to listen as long as every hour of music is plagued with at least a half hour of commercials.  Even 89.3, the most well-known Christian radio station, who prides themselves on uninterrupted music, commercial free, has been known lately to advertise their own announcements on a lot more air time than normal.  It’s getting  pretty ridiculous.

So, for all those radio listeners and sufferers out there who, like me, has to listen to the radio because of tragic faults of cd players and tape decks and bad iPod chargers, there are a few songs to look out for:

1. Hey Soul Sister, by Train.
What makes this song so good is that it is so unlike all other radio played Train, like Drops of Jupiter or Calling All Angels.  It’s got a reggae feel without being too “Whassup mon.”  And the lyrics are pretty cool, too:  “You’re lipstick stains / the front lobe of my / left-side brain.”  It’s fun to sing to.  And though I haven’t gotten a chance to download the complete album because of my lack of apartment internet, I look forward to seeing what else Train has created.

Radio Stations:  I hear it mostly on Mix 96.5, although I did hear it on 103.7 the other day and very occasionally 104.1 plays it as well. 

2. Fireflies by Owl City
Yes, this song has become way overplayed, but I love Hellogoodbye so much it’s the closest electronica I can get to through the radio that has the same sound feeling.  I like the lyrics a lot, although I’m not sure what it quite means, and I like that there is probably no symbolic undertones to them.  It’s just fun.  

This song used to play a lot on 96.5, and though it still comes on there I hear it more on 95.7 currently. 

3.  Dead and Gone by T.I. featuring Justin Timberlake
I’m not a fan of Justin Timberlake, mostly because he whines like a girl in his songs, and I’m not a fan of rap a whole lot, either.  But I will admit I like these rap/sing duets, with a famous rapper and a famous singer combining forces.  So this one I like because it’s fun to sing too and for a while interrupted the flow of incessant rapping coming out of my speakers.  

I haven’t heard it in a long time, but look for it on 95.7 and 104.1 

4.  Acoustic Sunrise
This music segment plays on 96.5 on Sunday mornings from 9-10am.  Yes, I know it’s early, but it’s totally worth it if you can catch it.  They play all the greatest hits–Train, Coldplay, etc.–only they play their acoustic versions.  This is where I first heard Ingrid Michaelson’s acoustic of Maybe, great song by the way, and her original version can be heard on 96.5, although a couple months ago it came on all the time and not so much now.  I don’t know who the DJ is, but within an hour I’m fairly certain there is about 40 whole minutes of acoustic playing.  So it really is well-worth listening to. 

So as books are changing their media forms to iPads and eBooks, I’m interested to see what radio will do in the age of iTunes and Pandora.  In order to exist, they’re going to have to come up with something.  And until I fix my iPod adapter, I’m going to make a mental note to track its progress.


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