America’s rural radio stations are vanishing – and taking the country’s soul with them

Before television, radio provided good family entertainment, and it can do so again.

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Small-town radio is fizzling nationwide, as stations struggle to attract advertisement dollars. And as station owners are forced to sell, media conglomerates snap up rural frequencies for rock-bottom prices, for the sole purpose of relocating them to urban areas. In a more affluent market, they can be flipped for a higher price. With limited frequencies available, larger broadcasters purchase as many as possible – especially those higher on the dial – in a race not dissimilar to a real estate grab.

Source: The Guardian


 

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Retroculture: Taking America Back

by William S. Lind

Before television, radio provided good family entertainment, and it can do so again. Unlike TV, radio requires an active mind on the part of the listener; it evokes images rather than providing them. And that can be powerful: the pictures we create in our own imaginations as we hear a radio show unfold may be more vivid than anything a television screen can provide.

Already, radio is offering more than just news and music. The Prairie Home Companion was a great success, offering a type of program, the variety show, that tends to be dull on TV.  American Radio Theater does the same. Some of the old radio dramas from the 1930s and 40s, like The Shadow and The Green Hornet, are turning up again on local stations. Some stations offer “Old Fashioned Saturday Nights,” with shows and music from the great days of radio. Just as TV offers new opportunities for Retro-entertainment, so does radio. What about stations devoted in toto to re-creating the past, including news, ads, everything, so when you tune in you take a trip in your Retro time machine? It’s not too far-fetched to imagine. In today’s highly segmented market, a station can succeed by being the only one that caters to a certain specific market, and Retroculture people offer that kind of market. Think of being able to turn on your big RCA radio made in 1935, the kind with tubes and lots of knobs and dials, and hear exactly what you might have heard in 1935. Now that would be entertainment!

1 comments on “America’s rural radio stations are vanishing – and taking the country’s soul with them”

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