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What Happened To FM Radio?

with 4 comments

Old Time Radio

I grew up listening to FM radio in what was probably its golden age – the 1970’s.  Who can forget Wolfman Jack?  The Guess Who even wrote a song about him.  Today, I don’t recognize what is on the radio if I even bother to turn it on.  I’ll admit that this has a lot to do with getting older and no longer being on the cutting edge of anything except maybe a surgeon’s blade.

Many things have contributed to radio’s decline.  Two things that played a large role in my opinion are the MP3 file and the digital music players that play them.  In addition, the smart phone with internet access play tunes from web sites and the phone itself can hold countless hours of music on memory cards with players that come standard with the phone.  Cars, which served as a great venue for listening to the latest release, now have inputs for MP3 players which further contributes to the erosion of the terrestrial (versus satellite) radio audience.  The digitizing of music has done to radio what 8 tracks, cassettes and CD’s couldn’t – it has made it possible to take your entire library of music with you in a device the size of a deck of cards.  If you tried that with your 8 tracks you would need a small U-Haul trailer filled to capacity to carry them all.  You don’t need radio, you now have a month’s worth of music in your pocket and you can sort it and shuffle it and not worry about commercials for Oxy 5 acne medication!  Does anyone else remember those obnoxious commercials?

Perhaps it is already too late but I am going to mourn the loss of FM radio, my friend from a bygone era.  For its eulogy I will recount some classics that rocked the airwaves that are favorites of mine for one reason or another.

In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry – Quirky and a great anthem for the lazy crazy days of summer and what the heck kind of name is Mungo Jerry?

Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin – Probably the most played song ever

A Horse With No Name by America – I liked the imagery

Brother Louie by Stories – a one hit wonder as far as I know but this song grabbed my attention mostly for the screeching vocals than anything else

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen – I had never heard anything like this song before

Satisfaction by Devo – I still like their version of this Rolling Stones tune better than the original but they are almost completely different. 

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynryd – This song was on almost as much as “Stairway” the live version was particularly nice

Coconut by Harry Nilsson – another quirky early 70’song this one with a calypso feel

Radar Love by Golden Earring – cool syncopated drum beat and awesome horn section 

My eulogy is done but I leave you with this:

Now that it is no longer In The Summertime, my Brother Louie and I are going to ride off into the distance on A Horse With No Name or perhaps fly away like a Freebird looking for a Stairway to Heaven.  If we don’t reach our destination it will be with the Satisfaction of knowing that we drank the sweet milk from the Coconut and danced in Bohemian Rhapsody as a tribute to the protection provided by the Radar Love contained in the mysterious light-wave absorbing materials of our stealthy nameless steed.

This is your daddy-o on the rad-e-o saying so long and have a great week cool cats!


Written by pacelinebiz

October 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

4 Responses

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  1. Forget FM radio. Whatever happened to AM radio? We used to bring tiny transistor radios to the beach! I grew up with a reel-to-reel tape recorder at home to copy songs off the radio and the dj’s would talk over the intro’s to the songs. But I must admit I’m loving Pandora!


    October 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

  2. Hey Doc,

    I agree that Pandora is nice. I just received information from them telling me that the free version is now unlimited. Very cool.


    October 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    • I have it on every night at home. I was wondering why I never went over my allotted time. Good to know. Thanks!


      October 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm

  3. I recognized all of those songs. Ever listen to The Bridge on satellite? They play some interesting FM favorites.

    Beth Ward

    October 19, 2011 at 9:49 am

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