INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Radio Requiem

Thanks to Doc for the link to Signals from Nowhere, a splendidly written but highly depressing article by Walter Kirn in the NY Times Magazine. Doc quotes the article at length, so I won’t bother here. It’s a piece about the homogenization of American radio, something I’ve been lamenting from time to time in these pages.

In my recently concluded road diaries, I referred with sadness to the homogenization of American food, but the changes in the radio scene are equally disheartening. I always enjoyed listening to the disparate and regionally distinctive voices of American radio when I made cross-country auto trips. This is a treat no longer available, as Kirn’s article explains.

In our recent trip, Jon and I compensated for this dearth by having Jon’s outstanding CD collection at our disposal, so it blunted the disappointment. But I feel a sense of loss that my kids and their peers will never experience the multiple textures and cultural layers of this vast country that local radio used to offer the long distance highway traveler.

Maybe the existence and convenience of CD players in our cars of today renders modern drivers unaware or uncaring about the deplorable state of the radio industry as it now exists. Some commenters place the blame on the lobotomytized American public. They have a point. After all, it’s the same public that puts up with unhealthy, mass-produced food and blindly accepts the lies spewed out daily by the Bush Administration.

Doc quotes Matt who observes and asks,

“But what I really don't understand is, if it's so awful, why do people listen? After all, without listeners there would be no advertisers and ClearChannel would be dust.

So who loves this shit? "

For an intelligent discussion of who listens to the fecal airwaves and why they do it, read the comments to Matt’s post.

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