Brendan Whitt


Blought # 18: Is Traditional Radio Living on Borrowed Time?

The radio. What a marvel of human ingenuity. Officially created at the turn of the last century the little box made of wood and electrical wires completely changed how we humans receive information. Radios helped us transmit news stories to over a million homes, improve military and law enforcement communication and gave us a new source of entertainment. After the television became a commodity for most American families in 1960’s the radio took a slight dip in popularity.

Instead of listening to Eisenhower or FDR give an address over the radio you could watch Nixon on television since NBC, ABC and CBS could transmit broadcasts into the American home. By the 70’s and 80’s 8-track and cassette tapes made it easier to listen to the music you wanted, when you wanted and by the 90’s CD’s were revolutionizing music consumption all together.

Today the radio to me is pretty much useless. We can get news faster before our favorite radio host can tell us about it. Either it’s trending on social media or a Breaking News banner has already caught our attention online or on television. Television, which arguably took the radio out of the American home is on it’s way out due to internet television and streaming.

I love to listen to DL Hughley’s evening show on the way home. But with radio shows like the Breakfast Club and Sway’s Universe it’s easy for us ADD Millennials to be more attracted to the latter which utilizes the internet to supplement their on air interviews with online videos of the interview. And with the booming popularity of podcasts talk radio’s days are numbered. I can see a day when I’m in my 50’s and radio tuners no longer exist.

The internet will be so accessible in the near future that we’ll be able to stream anywhere anytime with minimal data restrictions. Services like Spotify, Pandora and Tidal already gives us the freedom to listen to whatever we please. Throw in Bluetooth capabilities and auxiliary ports in most cars, I predict traditional radio will be completely obsolete by 2030.