So do you want to know why radio is still relevant even in the days of Smartphones and self driving cars? In its early days, radio was revered as a world-changing invention. For a short but important time, radio stations were the dominant form of media, and radio sets were prominent fixtures in family homes. With the rise of TV and the PC, radio became a relic of the past. In many ways, though, the medium of radio still matters today.
A Local Lifeline
Even now, numerous places in the country receive poor coverage from cell phones, the internet and even TV. Regardless, rural residents require timely access to important information, especially in emergencies. Local radio is often the best source of up-to-date news and other pertinent info for folks in the sticks. Public broadcasters exemplify this principle. Additionally, small-time radio stations offer steady ad space for small businesses. At home, at work or in your car, listening to local radio helps support your community.
A Bridge Between Cultures
In ethnic enclaves, local radio links minority communities with one another, with their homelands and with the wider world. New immigrants don’t need advanced technology to produce a radio show Brooklyn NY with news for the neighborhood and familiar sounds from home. Native listeners are cheered by programs in their own language. Others outside the culture can come to know their neighbors through music. Why fly to foreign lands on a fancy airline when we can travel for free via the airwaves?
An Art Form in Itself
Back before radio regulations, able amateurs could play anything they liked for all to hear. Government and corporate interests changed the listening landscape. However, given radio’s declining fortunes, alternative voices are reclaiming the dial. Located mainly on the left end, stations that follow a freeform format are full of surprises. Commonly run by college students and other grassroots groups, their eclectic programming ranges from the pleasantly unpredictable to the radically experimental. Either way, you may be sure all songs were selected by true music-lovers.
Whether as art, as a cultural connector or community resource, radio remains relevant in the 21st century. To learn for yourself, just listen.
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