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San Diego is a city that's fully wired for the Internet.

Since the dark cloud of corporate control of terrestrial radio covered most of San Diego, broadband Internet has been replacing dial-up phone line Internet as more people get broadband Internet for a more reliable Internet radio streaming experience to replace the time wasted listening to corporate controlled playlists on the AM and FM bands.

As music playlists and talk show ideas get smaller on the AM and FM bands they got bigger on the Internet band.

Thus, listening to streaming audio on your computer has become today's radio. It's what has replaced most of the time once spent listening to AM and FM.

Since the mid-90s, the definition of what a radio is (despite what some Name Withheld moron letter writer at the SD Reader thinks) has changed to mean streaming audio from websites, and that has become the new meaning of radio.

Satellite delivered playlists of music is also called radio, but the current model for satellite radio is flawed, and doesn't permit third-party radio programmers to take advantage of satellite technology to get their stations heard nationwide.

Podcasts are not, however, radio, but more like shows on demand, but many people are thinking that it's radio.

What is no longer radio, however, are the stuff that comes between the AM frequences of 540 and 1700 kHz. What it is are mostly right-wing wacko propagation machines in the guise of talk, religion, and news shows. The music played on the AM band tends to be aimed for people in the AARP age group. Generally, younger people think of AM as their grandparent's band, and is not relevant to their lives.

FM is the younger people's parent's band. That band too tends to play music that is controlled by suits in far away places who have no connection with what the general public wants to hear. On the corporate-run stations that's anything but radio, all you get is lite pop rock music aimed at young females, worn out dinosaur rock for what's left of the older listeners, watered-down country and alternative rock, light jazz, adult contemporary that sounds like rock, rock that sounds like adult contemporary, R&B that has anything but house music, and other monotonous ideas.

With younger listeners flocking to radio (Sateliite, Internet, whatever else) and away from merely corrupt AM/FM, the collective numbers for the radio stations continues to fall, with many more stations going below a 1.0, and a sizable portion under a 0.5 rating. As long as radio station decision makers continue to shoot themselves in the foot, the ratings will continue to ebb, advertising dollars fall, and deficits on the rise.

Stations are going dark, asking for donations, cutting back on local talent in favor of cheaper programming, and adding more informercial blocks. In short, radio is out of ideas on what to program to get an audience.

More people are discovering where their music went. The Internet. Satellite radio is limited to some 100 music channels, I don't know, and HD radio multicasted channels are low in number and often clone other main channel stations, so the only place where you can hear real music is on the Internet. That's what radio is today.

On the Internet, you can find oldies that go far deeper than what The Walrus is daring to do, dance mixes that commercial stations avoids, real comedy that you won't find on the morning talk shows, blues, bluegrass, folk, rock-country, and other genres that go ignored on the AM and FM bands, and so forth.

It makes me wonder why it is worth it for a radio station to keep pushing the same old stuff again and again when the audience doesn't care for it anymore. Get some refreshing talk programming that doesn't slam people and you'll get ratings. Get some music that has a beat, pulse, groove, and a real riff and you'll get some listeners again.

So when will the terrestrial analog streams on the AM and FM bands start acting like radio once again?

Comments
1

This assessment of what radio has become is right on the money.

The beginning of this decline happened the day radio became about the bottom line and no longer about the roar of the crowd. What the Internet provides and what radio has lost is simple: freedom.

When radio was king, the maestros of the airwaves had the freedom to communicate without time limits, and touch listeners, each in their own special way. Strict playlists, rigid formats, and people who were not “born to broadcast” are what have suffocated this precious medium.

Yes, delivery system has changed, but the magic of communicating and entertaining has not. Produce it and they will listen. I truly believe that people would listen on crystal radios (Ask your grandparents what that is.) if what they found when they got there was exciting enough.

Radio as we knew it is not dead, it’s just not compelling.

I applaud David Tanny for his insight and if there are any broadcasters willing to listen, I have an idea.

Sonny Melendrez www.SonnyRadio.com

Jan. 12, 2009

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