Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Turn the radio up...

Do you ever listen to the radio? Have you been somewhat disappointed lately? Or are you more of a Ipod/MP3 listener? Satellite radio, perhaps? I listen to the radio most days since I am working in a room that has a convenient radio in it. I also feel like headphones on my Ipod block me out from my co-workers, which I don't like to do. I usually listen to NPR or the local Penn radio station, XPN. They have nice programming, interesting talk shows about local and national news. XPN plays a wide variety of music, mostly emphasizing "indie", but also showcasing singer/songwriters, local groups, rap, reggae and even a kids music hour (OK, that drives me nuts!). For the most part, listening to the radio is nice because I feel like someone is "with" me in the room, and it gets me thinking about current events, life in general, politics, interesting places and people, etc. I remember when I traveled with my parents anywhere when I was a kid. I would always have my trusty Walkman, and I would always love to listen to the local radio channels I could get. I liked to hear what music they were playing, how the DJs sounded, what the advertisements were, etc. It was like seeing something familiar and having it be just different enough to be interesting. Now, when I travel across the country, the radio channels don't change. Shows are syndicated and spread across the nation. Or worse, DJs are gone and replaced by some generic computer voice that jumps in after every song to tell you the artist and title. I don't really agree with this type of radio. I almost feel like they've had to "dumb" down radio so as not to create any inkling of controversy. How boring is that?
I used to listen to Howard Stern in the mornings when he was still on the actual radio. Granted, his show was pretty risque - I like how blunt he was with his guests, but ultimately got turned off after the umpteenth time talking about some guest's sex life. However, I did appreciate it when he started talking about his fight with the FCC and Clear Channel, trying to get his program uncensored and trying to speak out against Big Brother. Censorship is not right. The media should not be censored, and, on the same note, one giant company should not own the rights to nearly all radio channels across the nation. It ain't right, I say.
Back in the 1950's, as radio was emerging as a vehicle for musical acts, rock n' roll, blues, R&B, etc, radio stations were independently owned, allowing for diversity in DJs, the music that was played, the opinions presented, the local news covered, etc. This led to local artists becoming popular in their respective hometowns, and a diversity of music in different regions of the country.
Why are radio stations so boring now? Why are there no interesting shows? Opinionated radio hosts? Local news coverage? Why does Clear Channel think we want this kind of radio programming? I don't want to hear "Jack FM" on the East Coast and it's clone, "Jill FM" on the West Coast! Let's get original, folks! Give me some great local bands, local news, interesting information, live people talking to me on the radio. Isn't that what it's for?
As for now, I will stick to NPR and XPN. They're the last few holdouts on a slippery slope.


Randi said...

Jack FM is in L.A., too. I think everyone's gone to XM or satellite because there are less restrictions. How can you be entertaining when everyone's on your balls thinking you'll slip up and maybe utter a curse word. GOD FORBID! Radio sucks but if it's new music you are after, VH1 radio online introduced me to several new artists I heart.

Sheen V said...

No Preston & Steve (WMMR) in the morning for you? Those guys Rock!