Paging Wolfman Jack
Posted by the HIT board
A sizeable portion of the adult population still has fond memories of going to the beach with family or friends and listening to a top-40 radio station on a device the size of a bible. The tinny sound quality only enhanced the ambient sound of commercial interruptions and the circus-barker voice of a disc-jockey. None of it was thought to be annoying because it was part of the sensory tapestry of a care-free summer experience that included lifeguard whistles, the boardwalk and the scent of salt water mixing with Coppertone–or the baby oil used by serious tan stalkers.
Wearing headphones to enjoy music in any setting wasn’t even a concept. Popular music on the radio was considered a shared and social experience even amidst perfect strangers. What’s a radio lover to do in the 21st century when headphones are considered as necessary as clothing? When the music-listening experience has become so solitary?
These days, words like “social” and “music” have myriad layers of meaning. Which brings us to the term “social radio,” a relatively new pairing of words in a sea of established “platforms.”
Napster, Rhapsody and Pandora have been around for several years and been written about often enough for most people to have at least heard of them. A steady stream of others are gaining prominence. Now there are Turntable.fm, Grooveshark, Google Music and Spotify, among others.
This article from CNN.com provides a helpful first step in understanding some of the basic differences among the services and embracing the newest social aspects of listening to “the radio” that have become so much more complicated.