Radio as a Social Force

Local conversation and local culture isn’t disappearing necessarily just because we have a world that’s more connected. In fact I think it allows some subcultures to blossom a bit more and for local conversations to have even more power and I think that radio can certainly play a part in that’ – Jared Leto (Thirty Seconds to Mars)

Radio is more than what it once was – encompassing terrestrial, satellite, streaming services, digital/online outlets and providing more unique content than ever before.

The role radio fulfills hasn’t changed however. Beyond being a source of information and entertainment, it remains a community builder – a curated, multi-dimensional global medium that brings like-minded people together, defies political and geographical boundaries, and broadcasts both entertaining and mission critical information.

Expect the unexpected

A curated, musical experience provides listeners with the new, the unfamiliar, and the unexpected. You can find Icelandic Glacier Funk or Fijian Beach Metal online, but chances are you’re going to hear the most influential artists in those genres on a station whose listeners are really, really into them.

With commercial radio you don’t know what’s coming up next and – given the ranges available in any market, close to home or literally half a world away – you have many options.

Also, the content broadcast is unique to the voice of the outlet and the DJ or announcer on air. It reflects, in real time, what’s happening in the moment, presents a local perspective, and draws people out of their personal and cultural silos and introduces them to a wider world.

Somewhere, someone loves what you do

The range of programming on offer is incredibly diverse, whether provided by major outlets, local, or non-commercial stations. Big stations may have more listeners, but those tuning into indie, college, and community radio are often more intimately and heavily engaged. That creates opportunities for musicians and creators of all descriptions, globally; be they niche artists or well-recognized talents. Commercial stations may default to known quantities over unknown artists, but non-commercial and local outlets have no qualms about supporting emerging talents.

In many parts of the world, radio is the only game in town

The reach of radio remains expansive. It transcends national boundaries, defies censorship, and helps to increase literacy. It is a social force and a unifier. For many, radio is a necessity.

In the US, in 2017/2018, some estimates say 93-percent of Americans listen to AM/FM radio, a greater percentage than those for whom TV or the Internet is the go to. In Canada, in 2018, radio is estimated to reach roughly 25.7 million people (out of a total estimated at 37.06 million).

There’s a reason those little crank charged AM/FM radios are recommended for a survival kit – whether the crisis is a power outage or the zombie apocalypse – they’re portable, powerful and consistently reliable.

And radio is free, available anywhere and provides a massive variety of curated and readily accessible content. It’s exceedingly rare for a new technology to completely and irrevocably replace another. We may listen to radio differently. We may have options we didn’t have before. But we’re still tuning in.

Comments are closed.