Friday, June 6, 2008

Thoughts of Radio Nation from a Radio Guy

There’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one, and they’re all made out of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same. ~~From "Little Boxes", a poem by Malvina Reynolds and evolved into a song of the same name by Pete Seger
Mind if I jump right in with a question? It might seem a bit random at first, but it gets there and it actually morphs into another related questions. Hey, maybe not so random after all.

The first question is, does anyone care about radio these days?

And the follow up? Is what we hear all made out of ticky-tacky and does it all sound trust the same?

A fair pair of queries and in large part, the answer to that last one at least is yes. Or so says me myself and I. Whether you live on the Canadian side of the border or the American side, a majority of radio stations are owned by a select group of major players. That, from where I sit stands behind the reason why sameness abounds in radio these days. Dull, dull, dull! It’s about as inspired as a reheated TV dinner.

Still, I’m not going to write a column telling you how great radio was back in the day. I’m not going to report on how I used to walk 20 miles up hill to and from the record store, transistor in hand. Ok, maybe one day I will, but not today.

No kidding though, before you reach for your iPod again, can I offer a reason to give radio one more chance? Two reasons actually. One is called XM, the other Sirius.

Last Christmas, Jamie surprised me with an XM radio. I plugged it into my stereo receiver and I haven’t looked back since. With XM, I can listen to any kind of music that fits my fancy. Or I can channel surf, sampling a bit of this, a bit of that and, if the mood strikes, a bit of everything. I can explore any format I like without having to download and pay for a single track. Sure I pay a subscription fee, but the way I see it, I’m just paying for the privilege of not hearing commercials and for me, that is well worth the price of admission.

Jamie seems to thinks so too. Just last night she mentioned that she would like an xm radio for the car to help out with the long commute.

Yes, we are now members of the XM nation. But Sirius offers their own fine satellite choice. Seriously.

The best news is that you can treat yourself to a free online try out of both services, at either of their websites, or Take them for a virtual test drive. Kick the virtual tires and see what you virtually think.

I think that both are worth a listen. Why not see if either one fits your lifestyle? Radio... it isn’t dead yet, but it is evolving.

Contributed by Larry Naessens

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