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Who Needs Radio? 649

Posted by michael
from the all-we-hear-is-radio-ga-ga dept.
DragonMagic writes "MSNBC asks what many /.ers have been asking: Who needs the radio anymore? Rather, it goes on to really ask, who needs the RIAA anymore? With online music distribution sources, television, and the internet itself, how much longer will it be before the radio, and the RIAA, will be an obsolete means to promote artists?"
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Who Needs Radio?

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marshac (580242) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:16PM (#7332904) Homepage
    Why do you assume that only music is played over the radio? I listen to NPR for hours every day on my daily drive to/from work.

    • But the convenience of placing a Windows XP capable computer in your glove box will bring you out of the dark ages caveman.
    • Re:What? (Score:3, Funny)

      by sahonen (680948)
      Ditto. I've found that pretty much all the music on the radio sucks and NPR is the only thing worth listening to.

      Prairie Home Companion is t3h r0x0rz.
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by contrabassoon (532058) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:25PM (#7333021) Journal
      Indeed. As a radio producer, I feel the real "art" in radio is well beyond just spinning tunes. KPFA, NPR BBC PRI and many other entities are actively using radio as a communications medium, rather than just a corporate jukebox. There are great shows like "this american life" which are compelling and creative. I am hopeful that more and more of this type of radio production will help keep the medium current in the years to come.

      Radio has been around for 100 years. It's pretty amazing that TV, the internet, etc. haven't killed it. It's still enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people here in the US every day.

      • Re:What? (Score:3, Interesting)

        As a radio producer, I feel the real "art" in radio is well beyond just spinning tunes.

        Amen brother... When I first got out of college, my career goal was radio personality. (I know, looking back it seems like a shallow goal..) I was floored when, in an interview to be an afternoon personality/production manager I was told "Hey man, this ain't art. Just a well researched playlist..."

        It helped me understand that the radio industry I fell in love with had changed for the worse, into a glorified jukebox w

    • Re:What? (Score:4, Funny)

      by OECD (639690) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:25PM (#7333028) Journal

      Why do you assume that only music is played over the radio? I listen to NPR...

      Ditto (as it were.) I haven't listened to music in years. (Pay attention, RIAA.)

      If I owned a radio station, I'd cast my lot with talk radio. It's unlikely that people will be trading Rush* MP3s any time soon.

      *I was going to specify "Limbaugh", but then I realized that it's probably true either way.

      • Re:What? (Score:2, Funny)

        by syrinx (106469)
        hey, i have Rush mp3s. :P the band, not the guy.

        granted, i have most of the Rush CDs as well, and my slashdot username is from a Rush song, so i'm probably not a good sample.

        and, hey, i don't trade those mp3s, so you're right after all.
    • Most definately... I was commuting for some time 2 hours a day total, and yeah... you get to hearing the same shit. NPR was the only thing that was fresh every time I listened. Props to: The World Cafe, This American Life, Fresh Air, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered. They need a paypal link ;p
      • Re:What? (Score:3, Informative)

        by marshac (580242)
        What you really should do is to write your reps supporting NPR. After the whole O'Reilley thing, they could use some political support. Since Bill is talking to the politicians [foxnews.com], so should you. Read the link. Discovery channel? History channel? Please tell me you aren't insulted by your "choices"....
    • Maybe a better question would be... will analog radio die?

      NPR is always begging for money.
      Music radio is 50% commericals.

      Maybe the market will soon only support fee-for-service digital radio.

      I think it would suck... but it wouldn't shock me. The music nazis would just have to demand more money per song played on the radio... and the whole system would be in danger.

      Davak
      • Re:What? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MysticOne (142751)
        Begging? No, public radio and public television stations ask for money because they're supported by the listeners or viewers. Because of this, they give you what you want and cut the crap. Of course, they also have corporate sponsorship/underwriters, but that isn't nearly as profitable for public stations as it would be for commercial stations. But that's okay, because they have us, the listeners, to support them. In turn, we get what we want ... quality.

        As for music radio... I haven't listened in yea
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:27PM (#7333056) Homepage Journal
      I do also.
      The key is how many people listen to music at home VS in there car. I bet most people listen to music in there car more hours of the day than in there homes.

      What I really think people are missing is the community aspect of radio. In many small towns the local radio station plays an imporant role. They cover the local high school sports, weather, and community affairs.
      They also serve an important role during emergencys.

      That is one of the reasons I hate the "Clear Channel" stations. They are nothing but repeaters for the mother station. I think it is time to put more restrictions on local stations. They should have a required amount of local program content.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Davak (526912) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:50PM (#7333331) Homepage
        The elderly really depend on radio.

        I have cared for many elderly people who would sit and listen to the world--their world--on the radio each day.

        Church services, local sports, weather, politics, school functions--these all are often played on small local radio stations... and the older generation feels that they can keep in touch this way.

        With their decreasing vision and difficulty manipulating the TV, the radio is an excellent friend to these people.

        I wonder if they'll be prying the keyboard out of my hands one day... as all the younger generations have their neural inplants. They'll all be slashdotting with direct neural connections and laughing how the mouse and keyboard will soon die.

        Davak
      • Re:What? (Score:3, Interesting)

        Back in the day clear channel stations (not to be confused with stations owned by Clear Channel Communications) were a major communication link in this country. For those who don't know, back in the day (we're talking 70+ years ago) the Federal Communications Commission designeated a certain number of stations as "clear channel" stations. They were authorized to use the maximum power allowed by Federal law (50,000 watts), only one or two stations in the country were assigned to each frequency, and the stati
    • I did my undergraduate work at a big-time football factory. It is relatively cheap for alumni in the area where I now live to rent a local radio station for four hours on Saturday afternoons and provide a local broadcast of the home-town game coverage. Said broadcast is available to me whether I'm sitting at home, mowing the grass, bicycling, driving the car, etc. Given that it's just audio, I suppose that it would be possible to do over assorted wireless media -- wifi, cell phone, etc. But it sure wou


    • As another "What?" point, where do you think most people *hear* the music they download off of the internet?
      • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

        by jason0000042 (656126) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:49PM (#7333326) Homepage

        As another "What?" point, where do you think most people *hear* the music they download off of the internet?

        MTV2.

        And personally, I find out about stuff in print (both ink and electric) then look it up on the information superhighway.

        The radio sucks so bad that when I listen to it I want to bash stuff with hammers. The 'stuff' I want to bash is usually radios, and sometimes radio dj's.

    • talk on the radio (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x&snkmail,com> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:40PM (#7333219) Homepage Journal
      (I hope this post goes through. I've gotten that damn 500 internal server error something like 30 times on this one post.)

      For sure. News stations that feature only news all the time are a godsend when commuting, and important in emergencies as well.

      Remember The Blackout? I was at work patching the office for the Blaster worm when the lights went out. If it wasn't for radio and other wireless communication, we would have had no idea wtf was going on. Thankfully radio stations with reserve power managed to transmit so everyone could get into the car or use battery powered tranceivers to get the news updates.

      I used to drive to and from Toronto all the time across a strech of the 401 and if it wasn't for 680 news I would have gotten into a lot of traffic jams.

      Thus radio is still needed because it is an important way of disseminating information quickly, especially when only battery or small generator power is available.

  • by gardyloo (512791) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:18PM (#7332918)
    Anyone who doesn't have fast internet access or a television (or who doesn't want to pay for cable television).
    Anyone who likes to camp and take a $5 transistor radio along, rather than lug a satellite uplink system for online-access.
    Anyone who drives, and likes to have music or blather going while doing it (driving, that is).

    In short, a LOT of people.
    • Also... people (like myself) who want to hear something new once in a while.

      Sadly not many radio stations serve as a good source to discover new music. Studio Brussels was quite good; I used to commute for 2 hours (one way!) every day, and I'd listen to that station. Every now and then I'd hear something interesting and I'd quickly jot down the band name. A good station, with short and infrequent commercial breaks, DJ's that still knew how to shut up, and if they had the occasional caller on the air,
  • dont forget that (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SirSlud (67381)
    .. the radio still eclipsed the TV in terms of audience for the World Series.

    Maybe 'we' dont need them, but their miniturization and tiny cost make them a difficult technology to let go of, if you look across the demographic spectrum.

    To say nothing about me prefering drivers listening to the radio rather than watching TV, if they are interested in having somebody else picking the tunes ...

    Just some stupid thoughts.
  • Maybe folks who listen to stuff besides music? Like, news? I mean, downloading current events P2P still leaves you at least a few minutes behind the "breaking events".

    Damn, I can't tell if I'm being serious or sarcastic. I hate when that happens.

  • by Damiano (113039) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:18PM (#7332926)
    The problem is that the 25 mile long ethernet cable running to my car gets tangled too easy.
  • I love radio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by matt_morgan (220418) <matt@cn c r t.net> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:18PM (#7332933) Homepage
    Or, to be more specific, I love a few radio stations. WFMU (wfmu.org; 91.1 in the NYC/NJ area), KFJC, a few other great stations. The radio we don't need is all the monopolized Clear Channel stations. We all know they suck. But great, personal, free-form radio is still out there, and with web streaming is thankfully more available than ever. Maybe I'm crazy, but I like to be surprised by what I like once in a while. Without WFMU, I'd be listening to the same stuff over and over. If you're tired of radio, you're listening to the wrong stations.
  • Cars? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KingDaveRa (620784) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:19PM (#7332939) Homepage
    I listen to the radio all the time in the car whilst driving. Its a much safer option than tape, CD or MP3. Less fiddling about changing song and the like. I just poke a button and I've changed channel. Radio's 'killer app' has always been being able to listen to music in the car for me. Better than listening to people honk at me when I cut them up at junctions anyway.
  • Is it just me ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dabooda (412228) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:19PM (#7332943) Homepage
    ... or did everyone in the world become a computer user/music downloader over night?

    Not everyone has a PC and not everyone get's their taste of new music from the interent.

    In fact I would say that most people hear music on the radio then either buy the CD or download the mp3.

    I doubt that services iTunes will make radio stations disappear ...
  • who needs the RIAA anymore?

    Well, for starters, all those court clerks signing off on all those subpoenas. It's the first time they've ever gotten to play judge.

  • As soon as cars are obsolete, radio will be obsolete. I still listen to the news, weather, and traffic reports, right? I still like listening to something while my eyes are occupied.

    My brother has an MP3 player in his car, and can use one disk per week without repeating a single track. So for road trips, yah---screw it. But a ball game on a summer night, a college football game, NPR's Morning Edition, I gotta have radio.

  • npr (Score:4, Interesting)

    by asv108 (141455) * <alex@[ ]taudio.org ['pha' in gap]> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:20PM (#7332961) Homepage Journal
    Maybe I just starting to get old, but NPR is a good way to stay abreast of the latest news during my daily commute and provides some sanity, compared to TV news stations like FoxNews. As for commercial radio, besides to occasional classic rock channel, I've found that local college radio has the best offerings.
    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) * on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:35PM (#7333159)
      For those Slashdotters from foreign lands just tuning in:

      NPR is a good way to stay abreast of the latest news during my daily commute and provides some sanity, compared to TV news stations like FoxNews.

      NPR is left wing (although it seems middle-of-the-road to liberals). Fox News is right wing (although it seems middle-of-the-road to conservatives.) NPR is commercial-free, being underwritten by corporations, donations, and tax dollars (to the great dismay of conservatives). Fox is a commercial enterprise owned by Murdoch and the top-rated newschannel on cable/satellite (to the great dismay of liberals).

      Now, draw up sides, and... engage!
      • by cyril3 (522783) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @07:12PM (#7333547)
        NPR is left-wing only if you believe that "if you are not with us, you are against us"
      • Now, draw up sides, and... engage!

        Cute--but I hope this doesn't give anyone the idea that it's okay to mentally disengage; to think of everyone as fitting into the false dichotomy you present then feel smug about being somehow above the fray. People who come away with that impression are often the people who should be challenged to think more critically.

        It is valuable to provide yourself with a deeper understanding of the power to frame a debate. I've learned this first-hand by getting involved at a

      • by Guppy06 (410832) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @08:30PM (#7334211)
        "NPR is left wing (although it seems middle-of-the-road to liberals)."

        Um... I'm "conservative" by most peoples' reckonings. I'm pro gun rights, pro states rights, I like the idea of free trade, support the continuing mission in Iraq, and I even voted for Bush in '00 (although I'll probably be voting against Ashcroft next year). About the only thing I'm not is a member of the GOP (political parites... blech...). But I can't stand Fox News and routinely rely on NPR for all my news above all other options.

        If NPR is so "left-leaning," there'd be a lot more opinion-based commentary, kind of like Fox News. NPR is about the only place where you can find a news group that routinely reads letters over the air from dissenting listeners, and they don't even comment on/reply to/belittle those.

        About the only "left" part of public radio is the funding scheme. But even then, I've never heard programming on a public radio station underwritten by a labor group.
      • The Problem here is that NPR listeners are well informed and Fox News listeners are not well informed.

        Check out For example, according to the report (pp 13) 67 percent of Fox News listeners think there is an Al-Qauda Iraq link. only 16% of NPR-PBS listeners/watchers had the same wrong idea. If you think that there was such a link you may care to kno that the President of the United States said there was no evidence of any such link. All right, mod me down as not conservative now.

  • Well, I have been hearing most of the new music I am interested in via Internet broadcasting via iTunes. Between that and listening to NPR, the radio is almost useless for me now.

    Interestingly, for those users of OS X, there is also a new shareware release of a very promising looking Internet broadcast application that easily shares your iTunes library. Check it out here [rogueamoeba.com]. It's called Nicecast.


  • How are artists going to become popular now? Will giant rock concerts become a thing of the past because no one group will have such a large listening base?
  • Radio will not be silenced for a long time, I think.

    The technology has been around for a very long time, and broadcast radio will probably outlive us all.

    Using relatively simple and affordable technology, radio is a great medium to broadcast a message to a big audience. Even when the power goes out, all networks are fried and most infrastructure desroyed, radio is there. And its there as an important means for any government to communicate in such situation. If we'd loose the architecture, we might loose

  • reliability (Score:2, Informative)

    by nil5 (538942)
    at least the spammers of radio (ie legitimate companies, usually) don't launch DDOS attacks on those who wish to ignore them. Radio is regulated and that means it has somewhat better quality control.

    Considering how easy it is for malicious attackers to bring down networks through DDOS, etc. it is useful to have a backup means for communications. And the electromagnetic spectrum is pretty much guaranteed to exist 8) Of course, you can jam that, too, but a script kiddy or spammer doesn't usually have such
  • Without Radio (Score:3, Interesting)

    by akiaki007 (148804) <aa316&nyu,edu> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:23PM (#7333003)
    Where are you going to hear a band for the first time? Are you going to trust all of the users on the P2P networks in that these "new artists" (filename renamed) are new artists, and even if they are legitamite new artists, are you going to like the style, genre of music? Radio stations are there to sift out a lot of this for you. Yes, Infinity owns most of them, and yes they play a lot of things per request of the record labels, but there are lots of legitamate radio stations that are free to play anything and everything (of course in the genre of the station).

    You can't really think that WE will do it on our own. I personally don't have that kind of time nor the will to search for good music on my own. There is just too much out there. I'd have to go to every local bar here in NYC to see even 1% of them, and then what?

    Getting rid of radio is stupid. I see no real reason to get rid of it. I do see a reason to make it less monopolistic and let the smaller stations take control of themselves, but I see NO good reason to get rid of them.
  • Radio (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:23PM (#7333007) Journal
    Radio will be used for a long long time to come.

    Ever try to watch TV without using your eyes? It is a visual medium. Most TV shows are unexciting and moronic without the visuals. Try this the next time you watch tv, tape your eyes shut, and just listen. How long before you are bored.

    Radio, requires more imagination, more intellegence, and is better stimulation for the brain. Leftwingers have NPR, Rightwingers have Rush (well not at the moment).

    Try making sense of beer commercials while blind. "And twins!". Lame. And don't get me started on Porn. What is the point of THAT if you are blind?

    You see TV requires more attention while using less brain. Radio requires LESS attention while using MORE brain. Ever try taking apart an engine while watching TV?

    I think you get the picture.
  • Regional success (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AntiPasto (168263) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:24PM (#7333008) Journal
    Spoke with a guy from a local band The Sun who recently got signed to Warner Brothers... I gave him the usual speil about them being glorified banks, and he basically said "well, our drummer had a baby... we kinda needed the money..."

    We went on to discuss, however, that *regional* bands with not much beyond their own PR machine can and do acheive success in a DIY way. The local music scene of Columbus, OH, where I'm from for instance, is very encouraging.

    A local band called Wigglepussy, Indiana is having so much success behind thier own marketing, that it spawned somewhat of a marketing-firm in and of itself.

    I think this is what we need to... music from us, and for us, from where we are.

  • The only thing artists still need is someone to produce their music; that is record it, mix it, and edit it. And even those things are slipping from the big boys with help from the personal computer.

    After artists can independantly make a quality product, they will be able to distribute it as they please, to the benefit of both fans and the artists (who will make a considerably higher percentage).

    The last stage will be slow and painful, as it always is. And that is overcoming the entrenchment of large c
  • No one NEEDS radio, but lets face, although MP3 players and CD/DVDs are great and work perfect in both cars, office, and home use how would you be exposed to NEW or Indepedant music without the radio?

    Sure you could type in random names in kazaa and see what comes up, but lets face it your listenign to the music you are right now because of
    1) A friend told you
    2) You heard a song on the radio and dloaded it from kazaa
    3) You heard a song on MTV and dloaded it on kazaa

    So if you didn't have radio you would be
    • Unfortunately all the stations in my area play the same thing over and over and over. Either Clear Channel or Emmis Communications owns them. The ONLY one I get ANY new/unique music one from is a local college. So, in a nutshell, Radio==MTV/VH1 (99.9% of the time). I am looking forward when independant artists form some sort of co-op for streaming music.
    • shoutcast.com

      I don't own a TV so I can't relate to the MTV/VH1 comment. And I only listen to the local college stations when I don't have a CD on or my MP3 player plugged in.
  • RIAA == Collusion (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JavaSavant (579820)

    The dirty word that I never hear mentioned about the RIAA is that they are really no more than a bunch of record exec goons that are guilty of collusion. They've been essentially dubbed collusive as a result of losing that price fixing suit a year or so ago. They control prices, product, and are given the free reign to block competition. They are really no different from OPEC or DeBeers.

    Who needs Oil when we have (someday) hydrogen fuel cells? No one, as long as OPEC is around. Diamonds are incredibl

  • by LucasMedaffy (598394) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:26PM (#7333036)
    Almost every university campus has an independent radio station where almost anybody can get airtime for a few hours, and say/play what they want. I know that very few people tune in, but I really enjoy it. You get a very eclectic collection of music, and usually some "interesting" individuals. I don't think radio will ever die, even the commercial stations, mostly due to car drivers and the ability to hear music that you didn't have to actively search out, even if the music is only being played because RIAA lined that radio station's coffers.
  • Who needs MSNBC anymore?

    Do they ever provide any first-breaking news, unique insight, or ask questions what seem anything more than a cheap ploy for mindless debate?
  • by jest3r (458429)
    I listen to the radio for a couple hours each morning in a semi-state of sleep .. half dreaming about what I am listening to .. thinking about how much longer I should stay in bed ..

    In a state of emergency (ie. blackout) I prefer the radio over television. I also like listening to the top 100 albums of all time every labour day weekend.

    So I don't think radio is going anywhere anytime soon.
  • One thing about the radio (as far as music playing) is that it does introduce you to songs that you might not hear otherwise. If people are free to pick the music, then it follows that it would be harder to get exposed to different bands, etc. Right now you turn the radio on and you get fed, they might play a band you never heard of, and wouldn't ordinarily listen to. As online music catches on, one is dependant on word of mouth (via most frequently downloaded lists, etc), which is also true today, but y
  • by Pope (17780)
    I haven't listened to comemrcial radio on any sort of regular basis in at least 6 years. I just got sick of hearing the same 10 songs over and over again at the same time everyday. Granted, the local university stations like CKLN had great non-repeating shows, but the timeslots aren't always convenient.

    And I still find plenty of new music to buy at the stores these days, and not from being exposed to it any P2P network. I'm just as picky as ever! :)
  • payola versus piracy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sl0ppy (454532) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:27PM (#7333054)
    it kind of makes me wonder at what point the "cost of illegal downloads" actually approaches the cost of payola for radio play (or "distributors" that work as agents).

    imagine, payola ends, and suddenly certain songs flood the p2p networks, or "download centers".

  • When your city is burning and you want news, it is much more up-to-date and more widespread than an internet site......
  • I actually listen to the AM stations, couldn't care less about FM. There are many interesting shows and discussions and I can listen while I'm working, unlike TV.
  • Decline of radio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChuckDivine (221595) * <charles.j.divine@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:28PM (#7333068) Homepage

    My musical tastes tend toward classical, jazz, some older rock, some avant garde, some weird stuff.

    How do I learn about new music? From friends, live concerts and now free sampler CDs at places like Borders. Yes, I'm also now trying the Internet occasionally -- to satisfy my curiosity and broaden my horizons.

    I make sufficient money to purchase CDs from people I really like. For instance, paying $15 or more for a CD at Maryland's Renfest is reasonable to me. Of course, I've heard the artists and know I'll like their work. It also helps to know the money is going to the artists, not some huge RIAA member.

    There's another reason I'm listening to less radio that wasn't mentioned in the article. Radio quality is declining. Here's the current playlist for WGMS (a Washington, DC classical station):

    5:03 pm Mozart: Symphony #41 "Jupiter": I

    5:12 pm Schubert: Impromptu in A-flat Major (Op. 90 #4)

    Mozart's Jupiter symphony is more than 9 minutes long. WGMS now seems to be going in much more for short selections than full works -- especially at drive time. I'd rather stick with my CD player. No, I don't get exposed to new music (precious little of that on any radio station around here). But I also don't get pestered with commercials.

  • Now you understand RIAA's War on P2P? It's not about piracy, it's about control of the industry.

    Proletariat of the world, unite to kill RIAA
  • you want the radio to be successful again? tie up unused FM/AM frequencies to a simple internet interface so users can buy/lease airtime to play DJ and promote songs they love. sorry all the casey kasem's of the world, but you are being outsourced (into the computer room's of the average american).

  • how much longer will it be before the radio, and the RIAA, will be an obsolete means to promote artists?"

    Who would need promotion when they could go on stage and kiss Madonna (for the chick artists), males I guess could kiss that American Idol dork Clay*

    Seriously though, I don't look at radio as dead. Considering that, before I buy any cd, I often hear it on radio first. Besides when I'm my other digs (IT dept. at a college) I often enjoy hearing the radio as opposed to the same old collection. As for t

  • All references to the meaning (and age) of a popular Queen song aside (old news, this one), I found it very interesting to wake up first thing this morning with the news that my city was on fire [www.nu.nl].

    So I guess we need radio because we need some kind of useful signal to feed to our radio alarm clocks.
  • But as far as listening to some music or news, just remember that less than half of the US is populated by Internet users. And it will be a VERY long time before the Internet enjoys the coverage area, simplicity, reliability, and cost of equipment factors of radio. Remember, lots of areas in this country still have pulse phone equipment.
  • It just doesn't contain ads, music, or talk-back. In Australia, Radio National (tax paid-for radio) has rational people talking about all kinds of shit from science through to sociology to comedy to lectures from brilliant dudes to long discussions about topics that other "news" services want to turn into sound bites, like the legitimacy of war, marriage, religion, etc.

    It is definitely not teh ghey, but sometimes they talk about that too.
  • FM Music Radio programming just sucks. Check out sattellite radio and you'll understand just how entertaining radio can be. It's well worth the $10/month.
  • It all depends where you are. Outside of the USA radio is actually not bad. I listen to it in the car and anywhere that there isn't an internet connection. I can listen to talk shows, documentaries and music. I also like it for its sheer simplicity. Everything you need to tune into a radio station fits on a 50c chip. That's why you can find cheep $3 radio walkmans. Try that with digital and you are adding extra processing and the nightmare of incompatible formats, codec and licensing agreements. Digital rad
  • by spoonyfork (23307) <spoonyfork@nOspAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:35PM (#7333171) Journal
    Hey, I'm one of the millions that listen to NPR [npr.org] during the day, mostly to and from work.

    In case you weren't affected by the GREAT FEARSOME BLACKOUT OF 2003 [nervousnero.com], those of us who were crowded around radios to get news.

    Don't forget the 20 million so-called "dittoheads" that hang on Rush's [amazon.com] every word every day. Republican shill talk radio has never been so popular (depending on where you read your stats).

    There's big money in radio and the guy [infinityradio.com] who owns it is raking it in.

  • by ikewillis (586793) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:37PM (#7333192) Homepage
    Clear Channel stations are certainly not worth listening to. I used to think local call-in contests were bad enough, but Clear Channel has made them nationwide. Combine this with their highly censored playlists, their blind dedication to the war in Iraq coupled with sensationalist misreporting (a Clear Channel station here reported four buried vans in the desert as "Vindication for Bush: underground chemical weapons Labs were found today in Iraq") and their propensity for hiring the most moronic, annoying DJs possible, and you have the recipe for a radio station I never want to listen to. Contrast this with our local independent station, 99.5 [995themountain.com]. They don't have call-in contests, you simply sign up as a "community member" of their station and they randomly give away concert tickets. They play an enormous variety of music, and it's rare to hear the same song played more than once in a single month. They have knowledgable DJs who discuss things you never knew about the music they play in a calm, conversational manner so it's pleasant to listen to. I conclude by saying, in the words of Frank Zappa, "KILL UGLY RADIO"
  • My commute in the morning is approximately one hour, from leaving my door to sitting at my desk. It doesn't have to be, but that is a nice round figure.

    My commute in the evening is another hour.

    In both directions I drive my car, ride a bus, and walk.

    I have computers at home and work.

    In the morning I would love to download a 64 or 32 meg audio file in mp3 format that contains the current news as of my downloading it. If I could capture an hour of CNN "Radio" in the morning, that would be sufficient. This
  • by kfg (145172) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:54PM (#7333378)
    (yes, I'm old enough to remember more than one) everything failed. My internet connection went down, my TV went black, my electric lights went out ( my oil lamps chugged along like always).

    My portable radio worked like a charm and the emergency generators the radio stations employ kept them on the air.

    Promoting RIAA "stars" is hardly the only use for radio. In fact, small radio stations are still the most used medium for promoting obscure music unaligned with the RIAA, why do you think they oppose the proliferation of small neighborhood radio stations?

    Radio is one of the true modern marvels, its usefulness is far from past.

    KFG
  • by rjnagle (122374) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @07:26PM (#7333690) Homepage
    Well, it's a bit unfair to tout noncommercial radio on this discussion. But Pacifica Radio [pacifica.org] is full of fresh surprising viewpoints, and my local Houston affiliate kpft.org [kpft.org] actually plays great music. It gives you a sense of how fun dj's used to be.
  • by LordSah (185088) * on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @07:27PM (#7333697)
    Rather, it goes on to really ask, who needs the RIAA anymore?

    No, it doesn't. If the the submitter had read the article without his anti-RIAA glasses on, he would've realized that the article just questions the relevance of radio in a world dominated by the internet and visual media.

    The article specifically mentions Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken. Kelly received quite a bit of radio play, while Clay was seldom heard on the airwaves but still outsold Ms. Clarkson. Quote:
    But the heir to her throne, runner-up but reigning king, Clay Aiken, didn't have as much luck with radio. Deejays across the country mocked him, didn't take him seriously, and often refused to play his music. Well the joke just might be on them.
    Despite little radio play, Aiken's debut album went double platinum in its first week of release, out-selling Clarkson's album by a landslide. Aiken's success serves as a shining example of the power television now has over the music industry, and the arguably insignificant power radio has these days.
    (emphasis mine)

    This article addresses radio's lessened impact on the recording industry, and not the recording industry's impact on society.
  • by ElGanzoLoco (642888) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @08:17PM (#7334115) Homepage
    (Typing this from Cairo, Egypt, where there IS internet of course)

    In the third-world / developping world, the radio is THE main means of communication. People here listen to radio all day long; this is where I get the news reports related to the place I live in (I mean, when you're in Egypt you care more about what's happening in Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Sudan, etc, than the bushfires in Los Angeles). Radio is great in that it provides localized information, as opposed to the web.

    Cheap, also. I bought a 6 dollars radio that does its job perfectly well, allows me to browse in local / arabic music (go find that on Kazaa when you don't have a clue about arabic music!!).

    Easy to maintain, too... Most *very* remote places (Africa, south america, asia, etc) have ONE radio + a number of batteries when the power goes out, and with only this equipment, they manage to stay in touch with the rest of the world (how the hell do you think people in, say, Guinee-Bissau managed to learn about Sept. 11?).

    Internet is WAY more difficult and expensive to dispatch, operate and mantain.
  • by GunFodder (208805) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @08:26PM (#7334180)
    I remember listening to a professor of mine discuss the problem with TV with his head teaching assistant, and it boiled down to this: the simultaneous images and sound of TV are so overwhelming to the senses that it is very difficult to think about what you are watching while you are viewing it. OTOH one can think critically about a show on the radio. This is why talk radio is so popular.

    Additionally it is nice to listen to something new; this is impossible if you are creating your own tracklists. Listing to someone else's tracklists can lead to interesting new music.

    Finally there are many situations where video is not feasible. The car is a great example; other sitatuations may involve a lack of space or funds for a video screen.

    However radio is not without problems. There are many times when we cannot get the content we want due to the physics of broadcasting. Only a very limited number of channels are available, and if we are in the wrong place we cannot tune in our favorites. And the costs and licensing required to broadcast mean that only a select few get on the air.

    The solution is to keep our favorite radio shows, but change the delivery mechanism. It would work like the internet; all our favorite shows would be sites with streaming content that we tune in over a wireless network. Of course we would need to find bandwidth to provide nearly everyone with a hi-fi channel, but that is just a matter of time. Then almost anyone could broadcast content, there would be no geographical barriers to reception and we could have virtually unlimited channels.
  • by aaaurgh (455697) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @09:31PM (#7334562)
    ...as a communications medium for those situations when there is no direct wire alternative and/or people don't want predefined content and/or want access to news and the likes. I know that Europe has the RDS system which can interupt your car player with traffic bulletins, but who's going to run a purely traffic news content channel? I personally prefer to use the car radio during the rush hour with my CDs as backup for when the radio content is not to my taste, that way I can concentrate on the matter at hand - driving safely.

    Apart from the obvious situations of car, cycling, walking and etc. where there is no viable direct connection possible, what about when the power goes down or there is no/inadequate infrastructure - people here in the Aussie Bush have enough trouble just getting reliable land-lines, never mind dial-up and broadband; and as for Africa/Asia/etc... 'nuf sed!

    Perhaps radio will become a less popular medium for music promotion but, until the whole world is reliably wired, it will continue to use music in addition to providing other content, if only to fill the gaps between the news, traffic and ad. breaks.

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