Goodbye Radio

I’ve almost completely stopped listening to the radio (apologies to Tom Robinson). It was a slow progression over many years. My transition is pretty much complete. Brief, in-car listens is what I’ve come down to and I am pretty damn happy about it.

Why?

The list is endless but I can focus it down to a few key points:

1) Repetition
We have all dealt with this. I might like hearing a new song more frequently. But when a radio station can manage to make me sick of a good song in two days, sorry, not worth it. I think I was 15 the last time I played a song over and over for hours on end. I could do that because I had bought the song and could play it at home. I don’t do that anymore. And if I wanted to, radio would not be my first choice. My schedule, not yours.

I have noticed one of the national TV stations in Canada, CTV, has been advertising music in the last few years. It seems every commercial break includes a 30 second clip of someone’s latest. It’s been Bieber. Right now it’s Flo Rida (no idea where he got that name!). So if I have the tv on for several hours, I may see that commercial dozens of times And since they almost always pick artists I don’t like, I get very close to putting my foot through the tv. Do you think I’m going to buy that after hearing 12 billion times??? Uhhh, no. This isn’t radio but it might as well be.

On radio you can almost figure the song schedule out if you pay enough attention. The latest ‘hit’ will be played at least once an hour and a lazy Program Director will make sure it’s at the top of the hour. Some stations will go so far to play it every 30 minutes. Madness and boredom. No thanks.

2) Talent
I know you probably think I meant musical talent. I could go on for days on the manufactured nonsense we hear. But in this case it has more to do with on-air talent. The radio DJ. There was a time when stations were defined as much by their format as they were by their voices. How exactly are you supposed to get to know and connect with those voices when they have 45 seconds for a conversation. I have no idea how many songs an hour we’ve gotten to in most cases but it is ridiculous. They might as well eliminate the position entirely (it’s coming) and have some robot random play songs from the format list making sure the identified ‘new 5’ get played extra often. DJs might as well be producers since they have so much time.

DJs used to engage. They’d talk about issues and take a few minutes to discuss a topic. Nowadays DJs fall into two categories: pointless 30 second talkers and dick joke maniacs. I will never understand why the DJs who make bad sexual references and giggle every time they say the word ‘sick’ have any kind of following. I guess I know why guys have such a bad reputation as human beings. Listening to misogynistic assholes finding not-so-new ways to tell the same stupid joke about getting laid is tiresome at best, hurtful at worst. You can pretty much count on a few mental illness jokes thrown in as well. You can almost hear them saying ‘we’re just kidding around’ as they step over yet another line of bad taste and questionable morals.

3) Advertising
Do you enjoy commercials? Me neither.

4) Formats
I generally consider myself of an eclectic music imbiber. I like old music, new music, jazz, alternative, indie music and so on. There is something within every style of music that I can find something I like. Country, classical, pop, whatever. So how does one get to know those different styles and standout tracks? Sure as hell not on radio. every station follows a strict restriction on what they can play. Pop, Top 40, Hip-hop/rap, news, alternative, country,classic rock, 80s/90s/today. Don’t DARE stray from that or you’ll lose that ever declining base even faster. unless you listen to a lot of different stations, you would never get a chance to hear something out of the ordinary let alone extraordinary.

So?

I have always questioned people who stop listening to new music. Why, by the tim you are 25 years old, have you decided ‘that’s it, I’m done’ in the exploration of music. Are you really going to listen to the same 200 songs for the 50 years? I’d rather put a pick through my eye.

There is really so much good music out there. Bands like Vacuity that I’ve been writing about in recent weeks. indie music to me is the best source of material. And it is worth going through a few bad songs to get to the gold (seriously, have you listened to what is ‘good’ on the radio??). And there is a ton. I could blog about just indie bands for decades.

Interestingly Twitter has become a great place to find new music. Since I started writing about Vacuity and posting more indie songs on my blog (which feeds to Twitter), these days bands start following me on Twitter. I can check out their music and post or retweet anything that interests me.

As for talent in the ‘radio dj style’ there is a great medium out there for that as well. Podcasts. So I can listen to whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want. Just like music. Humble and Fred are two great guys I have followed and supported for decades now. They are passionate, funny and unafraid to discuss anything from wet farts to gun control.

With devices everywhere. With cars getting online and device plugins. You really don’t need radio. Why would you want it? It is dead. Sadly unable to change with the times they have buried themselves and put up their own headstone that simply says ‘Oops’. I can honestly say I’m not sad to see it go. And I hope the complete demise will push people to look forward to the myriad of choices out there. There is so much great stuff. You just have to look. And not very hard at that.

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