As I've started working at BYU Radio, I've had the opportunity to really think about the role that radio has played in my life.
There's no doubt radio has changed in the last decade. With the invention of smartphones, iTunes and free online music stations, we can take our music with us anywhere we go. Some have even said radio is dying.
But I remember the "good old days."
Don't get me wrong, I'm a Millennial through and through, but I think I was just young enough to still appreciate the convenient entertainment of the radio. I remember in elementary school I would run to my room every Monday night at 7 PM to listen to Adventures in Odyssey, a Christian radio drama geared toward kids. I would delicately turn the knob on my radio/casette/CD player until I hit that static-free sweet spot. I would pull out a small sewing project and let my imagination fill in the characters and the settings as I got caught up on the stories for an hour. It was the highlight of my week.
In middle school I kept my bedroom radio playing 24/7. It was my constant companion. I couldn't sleep without music. I couldn't wake up without music. I knew every word to the Weekly Top Twenty songs. I listened faithfully to Goose and Romi in the morning, laughing as I got ready for school. I stayed up late to listen to the new music show on Friday nights. My friends and I danced to the music mashups on the Saturday Night Streetjam. We even got brave enough to call in and wish our friend Happy Birthday one night. It was exhilarating.
My love for radio changed when I moved to a smaller town in high school. My car didn't pick up clear radio reception, and the town was a solid four months behind on new music. Not to mention the daytime radio host sounded like she was half asleep. But I had an iPod and a music collection that I had carefully built up over a few years. I got a car adapter for my iPod and eliminated all of the static, commercials...and personality...that comes with the radio.
I think this has happened to a lot of people. Technology has changed the way we look at radio. We get to make our own decisions about the music we listen to, and it's much cheaper and more convenient than buying full records and albums.
But there is no personality.
When I listen to the radio, I feel like the hosts are my best friends. They keep me entertained all day, every day. They make me think as I go about my day. They play the music I love and they introduce me to more music. They interview my favorite celebrities, and I feel like I am in the room with them. My iPod doesn't do that for me.
And that's why I've returned to radio. I love the spontaneity of not knowing what song is next. I love the big personality of the hosts. I love the ease of turning on the stereo instead of scrolling undecidedly through songs. I love talk radio and the way it keeps me informed. I love the way I get to be involved in the lives of the hosts. I love the stories they bring to me, and the opinions they pose.
And I don't think radio is dead. It's just dynamic.
Radio is not dead, because it comes to you in whatever way you want. For example, did you know you can stream BYU Radio from the internet? You can even go back and replay the shows you missed whenever you want. BYU Radio is also a national radio station now, which you can access at SiriusXM 143. You can get the BYU Radio app on your phone or tablet. And most recently, you can download most of our shows’ episodes from iTunes. All of these, in addition to the classic method of delicately turning the knob (or pressing buttons) on your stereo.
Radio is not dead. And it will not die, because it will continue to evolve as we do. So don't miss out on the personality, spontaneity, and entertainment that radio has to offer. I'm calling for a return to radio: may it live on forever.
By: Morgan Lewis, BYU Radio Intern