Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Music on the radio: the next media RIP?

Along with the rapidly approaching obsolescence of newspapers and CDs, now I hear of the demise of music radio as the place to go for hearing the latest tunes. The Boston Globe did an article spurred by the closure of WBCN, which in the 60s and 70s was the epicenter of the rock scene around here. Now we have the online streaming-music struggle between Last.FM and Pandora. I had heard of Pandora but not LastFM so I quickly checked out both their websites. I quickly decided I preferred the look and feel of Pandora and proceeded to create my own "station." Great! Of course you have to be at a computer, but then I found you can get an iPhone app to listen to your station on the go. Even greater! So now the only remaining issues I have are (1) the car (since my 2004 model does not have an MP3 jack and iTrip sucks), and (2) what about lousy cell reception and the radio equivalent of dropped calls? Then again, radio reception isn't always perfect either; you sometimes have static (the equivalent of pops and scratches on LPs). Oh yeah, and I have to get an iPhone. I lust for one. Maybe some day Ben will have in income again...

Getting back to the bad old days of scratches -- I hate that stuff and gladly traded the clean sound of CDs for the supposed loss of warmth or dynamic range or whatever that audiophiles claim as a shortcoming of CDs and MP3s. Even more, I hate commercials. I have all my presets on the car radio and my hand shoots out to click down the line anytime I start hearing an ad. As a result, I mostly listen to WERS (the commercial-free Emerson College station), NPR, and a smattering of other music stations when one of those is doing something boring. But I'm lucky enough to live in a city with an assortment of semi-listenable radio stations, as well as an iPod with the beloved shuffle feature. Ben thinks I have ADD and maybe I do -- I just can't believe I ever had the patience to sit through 10 minutes of radion comemrcialsd or an entire album side on LP.

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