Saturday, 20 April 2013

Turn Up Your Radio


I've never been able to pinpoint why, but Radio as a broadcast medium has always intrigued me. There's something magical about creating entertainment purely through sound.

The problem I have is that, in my opinion, most local radio in this country is rubbish. Commercial radio is just awful - it doesn't matter where you go in the country, every commercial radio station falls into one or the other categories: inane Top 40 pop, classic rock or talkback. There's no inventiveness or creativity in any of it, and the amount of promotion intertwined with normal programming is annoying and downright offensive at times (try listening to a Triple M football commentary sometime if you don't believe me.)

Thankfully, there are plenty of great stations around the place that stream on the web that are still awesome: Triple J Unearthed, EastSide Radio, FBi Sydney, 4ZZZ-FM Brisbane, not to mention great overseas ones like KCRW in Santa Monica California, Indie 103.1, Radio Paradise, plus great things in Britain like BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6Music, XFM, Absolute Radio, Jack-FM Oxfordshire, and heaps more, and they're all available via Tune-in.com.

It's so easy to lament the great stuff that came before now, and how most DJs are annoying and vacuous. Breakfast radio just isn't as interesting, clever or funny anymore. Cheap stunts, celebrity trash and general outrage are the flavour of the month. And yet, there is still life in the medium, provided people are prepared to be inventive at the expense of ratings and advertising dollars.

Pretty soon, the analog radio spectrum will be switched off and all radio stations will be forced to go digital. This is a major problem for the hundreds of Community and public radio stations in the country, who are struggling to make their operating costs as it is, without having to find additional capital to upgrade their broadcast gear.

But as well, what is going to happen to the old analog spectrum? There's still millions of cars without digital radios in them, and every mobile device has an analog radio built into its firmware?

Radio has captured the minds of people for almost 100 years now, and there is a huge volume of music the has been written in tribute or that has been inspired by radio - much more than anything about newspapers or television.

Below is a playlist capturing as many as I could think of. It's not exhaustive; I'm sure there is more. Take a listen to the 99 tracks that are here and let me know if you can add any to the list!

Enjoy.

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