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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

The Foreverness of Radio

Simple is good, right? Apple introduced their Iphone which did exactly the same as what Nokia N95 phones did at the time. The difference, except for the form factor of the device, was that the functions were easier to use on the Iphone. We all know what happened to the sales of Apple’s Iphone and Nokia’s smart phones.

Radio is simple. It’s linear and live, like life itself. It is just there. It can used as enjoyment, challengement, information or just to help pass time. Anywhere, anytime and while doing something else. It just doesn’t seem to be very fashionable.

Linear radio. Just to utter the words these days suddenly makes the speaker seem old fashioned. It is on demand streaming or podcasts that are the trending topics of radio jargon these days. But the live bit is what I love about radio. The life of it, the immediacy. It gives me, as a listener, the possibility to discover new programs, new music, new genres and new topics just by listening in. No matter who my friends are, no matter whether anyone recommended something or “liked” it online. And no matter what I have listened to before, which kind of news I consume, my weight, my age or my gender. Radio does not discriminate it’s listeners. Everyone gets the same, at the same time. It is wonderfully non-personalized.

Who needs radio with Spotify or Wimp, some people ask. Radio is so much more than music. And radio has survived LPs cassettes, mini discs, laser discs and CDs. Music has always been available, that I can listen it to other people’s playlists is not a game changer. People have always listened to radio, and they still do. I like the stories accompanying the music. Favorite program leaders and DJs are popular because they know their music, they know their listeners and they can communicate with them.

Radio is like a conversation that the listeners can take part in or just listen to. A conversation that is not live can certainly work, but I would argue that a live conversation has a totally different edge to it. It is happening now. No one knows what will come out of it. Like life itself.

I am getting towards the end. But first, I would like to quote a little part of a very well put speech which Ove Joanson of Media Conglomerate AB in Sweden gave during Medientage in Munich in October 2009. It is still as relevant now as then.

“Radio is the medium of civilized man.

Radio balances emotion and intellect. Radio has more presence and authenticity than a printed text – without being burdened by the need to find moving images that so often influences the topics of television and blurs its focus. Radio is our most important medium because it is the medium of relevance to those who want to know and the medium of feelings to those who want to feel.

The problem for radio is its self-evidence. It is easy to produce, even easier to consume, so easy in fact that is it often taken for granted and often overlooked. Radio, being the largest mass medium in many countries, my own included, is the world’s most wide-spread secret.”

What to do to reveal the secret? The UN is doing their bit. Yesterday, february 13, was World Radio Day, the international radio day. Today is Valentine’s Day, the international love day. Let’s combine them. I love radio. And I will continue to be an enthusiastic, curious and keen listener, just like millions and billions of other people around the world. From now, to eternity.

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