What ever happened to listening to the radio? Why don’t we do it anymore? I know that the lack of AM/FM radios in our daily lives has had a big effect on this, but considering that every car has a radio and most of our phones have the ability to download radio player apps, it’s not like we can say that we don’t have access to the frequencies. As to why we don’t go out of our way to do this anymore, I think that music streaming apps are the main reason. The ability to tap your phone screen a couple of times and then be listening to just about any song ever made is very powerful, and so commonplace that music seems like second nature to us. We hear it everywhere. In the showers, in advertisements, in the hallway from the Union to Founders and in every single earbud on campus. We can find it in minutes with apps such as Soundhound and Shazam. You cannot escape the consumption of music that is happening constantly. I have seen people with their earbuds in, somehow having a full conversation with the person next to them. How do you even do that? Are you listening to the music or the person you’re talking with? That’s another bone to pick some other time, so instead, I want to focus on the apparent need to listen to music at any given time.
It seems to me that we can’t go one day without deciding on music to listen to. We’ve trained our brains, like Pavlovian dogs, to find reward in listening to music. The dopamine rush is something that has always happened, but nowadays we have more control over when we receive it. One could argue that listening to music was a more rare occurrence in years prior. Considering the fact that recorded music didn’t happen until the 1880s and that vinyl records weren’t commercially sold until the 1930s, most music would primarily have been listened to in-person. When these records became popularized, it was easy to listen to music often because of the ease of use. Eventually a man, named Bob Casey, broke history and introduced us to the two-turntable system, which made it a lot easier for future DJs to make a nice blend of music. A couple years later the cassette was invented, and about 20 years after that the compact disc (CD) was invented.
So, now that the listening experience can be mixed around on portable devices, the amount of people walking around with prerecorded music is massive. You’ve got kids with portable CD and cassette players, which eventually became mp3 players and iPods.
These devices give individuals the opportunity to make their own collections of music by paying for the rights to listen to those songs. I’m sure we would all be able to put together one good radio show if we really sat down and organized our Liked Songs playlist. The art of compiling music is lost on us, and we tend to forget that radio hosts put time and effort into making hours of music appealing to our ears and emotions. Our own radio station, The Source 95, WVUR-FM, has a lack of recognition for the hard work they do to entertain the surrounding community. Why, I ask you, do you not listen to the radio? Why don't you listen to your own university's radio station? Our own classmates put time and effort into crafting a wave of music for us and we don’t have the heart to download an app and listen in for one hour? So, I encourage you, like I encourage myself each and every day, to listen into the art that our radio station shares with us. Who knows, you might just hear something that you can keep forever.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.