In defense of curated radio

posted by Jeff | Friday, August 23, 2019, 10:10 PM | comments: 0

We've had SiriusXM radio in our cars for about nine years, and we've really liked having it. Sure, you can load up your phone and listen to whatever, or a streaming service if you're not bandwidth constricted, but there's something to be said for curated radio, even with DJ's. Our favorites are AltNation, First Wave, Broadway, Lithium and others. They recently started including their streaming service with no extra charge, and now we find ourselves listening at home pretty much all of the time. It's awesome.

Certainly, it would not surprise anyone that I have a soft spot for radio, having worked in it for a few years during and after college. I romanticized it in my teenage years, too (working in it definitely could have ruined it for me!). Even though I actually buy music still, loving the world of playlists, there's still something great about the experience of listening to curated radio.

The thing I really loved about the Internet before the turn of the century is that it seemed like it was going to be this great democratizing force for content. Literally anyone could create things, and potentially find an audience. As it turns out, that's exactly what happened to some extent, but it also let a lot of crap float to the top. In fact, I think we have to take a lot of the bad with the good as far as the Internet's effect on culture. The thing is, the limited scope, having taste makers between us and the flood of content, wasn't always a terrible thing.

Music is a very subjective thing, and I get that. I probably don't fit the mold because I'm surprisingly not nostalgic about it. I don't generally listen to what I did in high school or college (two radically different eras of music), and I'm always looking for new stuff, especially in the alt rock realm. To that end, having a dedicated radio channel that sifts through all of the crap and delivers (mostly) good stuff is great. There's a real skill to have the right ear for composing a playlist that seems coherent. I did it one summer in college, and I can tell you I wasn't very good at it.

So here's to the relatively small pool of people who are music directors out in the world. Respect.

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