Wednesday, January 23, 2008

mired wagazine

It stung a little bit to see radio on Wired Magazine's new list of "Things That Suck." Obviously, I still enjoy radio and have hope for its future. However the Wired article does raise valid points. Radio does remain viable as a way for new songs to get mainstream exposure but it is unique content that will guarantee the medium's survival. With the technology available to us today, the main reasons for listening to long sets of music on the radio are convenience and price. We give up song selection and sit through a few songs we don't like because it's cheap and easy to listen to music on the radio. Ultimately we may get bored with the music on the air and switch to a CD or MP3. It's the talk and information that makes a radio station worth our time. It's hearing opinions with which we agree and disagree that will engage our minds. It's a community for us to call in and express our thoughts about a celebrity or a local news story. That's what makes radio great.

HD radio is supposed to rescue the industry from iPods and the Internet. It may very well do so but not for the reasons being pushed on us. The braintrust behind HD is mainly promoting the audio fidelity angle. The AM band does stand to benefit from a static free broadcast more than FM. I've read Mark Ramsey's 2005 essay about HD that points out consumers are choosing lower audio quality and greater selection. You've done this yourself if you've ever taken some CDs and compressed them into MP3 files to fit more songs onto a portable device. Therefore it may not be the better sound of HD radio that listeners want, it might be the additional channels of programming that it could offer. So far most stations that run a secondary channel of programming are filling it with music that true fans would already have on their iPods. It's time to open up the airwaves to stuff that can't be found elsewhere and that stuff is personality radio.

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Anonymous Voice Over Guy said...

I listen to a local radio stations free broadcast of HD radio - via their website. But I listen to it through crappy little speakers on my PC and I'm happy with that...

It's not so much the sound quality that I am interested in, and I definitely don't want to hear any NEW music.

It's just nice to hear the oldies - without anyone sayin' the usual nothing at me all the time. ;-)


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