At the beginning of this year, the announcement that Norway was shutting down its FM network caused turmoil among the public, and at the same time sparked various debates. Many forums are still filled with predictions and claims concerning the situation and the changes that may be pending for radio. While it seems that digitalization is moving head of the FM frequency, the radio as an influential factor in the media persists. Divided opinions suggest its future is uncertain; and yet, there are facts that support the continuing importance of radio.
Most employees at radio stations aren’t worried; and in addition to that, they say they cannot be replaced, because there’s no real alternative to radio. The main argument about digital’s domination and the possibility that it will put radio into a museum is backed up by the ever-growing popularity of visual entertainment. However, this statement cannot be taken for granted, since strobes, lights, and special effects cannot fully give us everything we want.
Can digital outlets provide us entertainment? Definitely. But can they respond to the full range of our imaginations? Hardly.
Here’s where the radio has some real power. It acts like it’s our little buddy that follows us wherever we go. The radio is imported into smartphones, smartwatches, and other devices, not to mention its accessibility via the Internet. Not only that, we enjoy the programs of domestic radio stations, but we also pick up many other stations worldwide. Often we need for our hearing to take the lead and our eyes to get some rest. A good frequency, original and diverse programming, and people who communicate with us through the ether make our radio experience precious. We are left with popping images, thoughts, and ideas in our heads. This may sound like a typical movie scene if we complete the atmosphere by adding a hot cup of coffee on a wooden table in a rainy night or on a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon. The reality is that these scenarios are intimate moments for many people, or even represent some sort of therapy session, no matter whether a thematic show airs, or a shuffled playlist keeps playing.
The expansion of this media in a globalized world shows us that just because a community – or even a country – decides to exclude radio, it doesn’t necessarily mean that its role should be questioned. For smaller communities, it’s normal to consider something like that; but big cities, on the other hand, would be pushed into monotony without a wide range of radio stations. As long as there is a constant rush, the need for radio won’t die. A random song playing on the radio, whether it’s in a taxi or on a smartphone, can brighten up someone’s day and ease the tension before coming to work or school.
A studio equipped with microphones to pour popular music, diverse content, and attractive personalities into the ether creates another realm that listeners don’t see, but feel instead. This is why many of them have been inspired to establish new radio stations with unique stories. Listeners are at the same time free to experience in their own way a humorous show that is not visually served, to process the news they hear without any distractions. Again, the only “visual effects” we have here are the ones inspired by the sound of radio and how it resonates in our heads.
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