While some people in class on Monday agreed that radio is a dying medium, others disagreed. I think that radio will continue to grow and evolve because it stands out among other mediums due to its unique characteristics. Writing for radio presents different challenges and opportunities compared to print or electronic media. In print and electronic media, the writer can use long and involved copy to communicate complex stories along with the use of illustrations. Broadcast media such as radio and television offer a fleeting exposure where viewers don’t have the ability to backtrack as easily as in print where they can just re-read the previous line of text. This forces broadcast media to be creative and and tactical when it comes to presenting content. Television has the ability to combine sight stimuli and sound effects to attract the viewer to the copy. Radio, on the other hand, is the only medium that doesn’t include visuals. Many consider writing for radio to be the ultimate forum for creativity because the medium is restricted to audio-only presentation. This is called “Theater of the Mind” and allows the writer to create images and moods that transcend those created in any other mediums. I think that this characteristic gives radio an edge over other medium; it has the ability to stimulate the listener’s imagination and creativity in a way that visual mediums cannot.
Radio is evolving and today we enjoy audio content and music in the form of streaming services and podcasts. Although these mediums probably will continue to grow and become increasingly more popular, I doubt that terrestrial radio will ever die out. Why? Because what else are you going to turn on when the zombie apocalypse comes? No but seriously, radio is more than just music and audio content, and there’s really nothing that could completely replace it. According to the article Roundtable: Five Execs Examine Radio’s Uncertain Future in the Streaming Age on Billboard.com, “Radio is completely different from playlist creators such as Pandora and Spotify. It lets you engage with the world and find the music, news, traffic, sports, gossip, weather, events, DJs and talent, etc. that you’re interested in, and helps you be part of what’s going on.” The article mentions that streaming services do the opposite of engaging listeners; most people listen to playlists when they want to escape from reality and be alone in a self-made environment. Playlists and music collections have existed in some format or another for decades (45s, albums, cassettes, cds, ipods, MP3 players, etc.) but have never managed to replace radio.
My question to you is: Have you ever listened to a radio show, audio book, or podcast that have sparked your imagination to create images and visual scenarios in your head based on what you hear? Also, do you believe there’s a future for radio?