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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

On radio culture


Illustration of a radio.

The first ever radio was invented and patented by Italian Guglielmo Marconi in 1896. The next year, he established the first radio station in England. However, it was not until 1900 that human voice was transmitted over radio by the Brazillian Priest Roberto Landell de Moura. In the following decades, radio technology quickly developed and became a source of news, communication, and sports broadcasting. Radio culture has a long and diverse history, and today the centuries-old invention is as common as anything else in the standard household. Walk into my house at any given time, and the kitchen radio is sure to be blaring with some music channel or NPR. One of the most interesting things to do on a road trip is travel into new radio zones, and listen to all the random streams of music and talk coming out of your speakers. In fact, wherever you are sitting right now, you are almost certainly being passed through by radio signals, traveling from far away to your radio and thousands of others. In this way, music is quite literally always in the air. Radio culture is giving way to other forms of entertainment, such as television, apps, and listening platforms, but we must remember to celebrate this auditory old gem of society. 

One thing that I have always found fascinating about radio culture is the announcers that come on between songs on the music channels. Somehow, they always seem to know how long to talk before the last song finishes fading out and the new song has faded in. All radio announcersand speakers for the matters—seem to have this distinctive “radio voice”. For the men, it’s low and reassuring. For the women, it’s like an elevator voice- clear as crystal. Oh, you want to work for a radio program, but you have too high of a voice? No chance, I’m afraid. It’s a staple of auditory entertainment, and one of the first things they look for in job candidates,

Radio talk show host Ward Anderson talked to Business News Daily about “what it’s really like to be an on-air personality.” Anderson speaks on the difficulties of the job:

“We are on the air for three hours per day, five days per week. AM talk radio takes a commercial break every six to 10 minutes. We only have a couple of breaks per hour. And then, for only a couple of minutes. So we are talking a lot, every single day, with little rest. On top of that, we have to monitor the phones, recite what our listeners are posting on Twitter and Facebook, and read certain emails live on-air, all while keeping the show lively and entertaining.”

Despite the  hardships, Anderson says that getting to meet and interview his idols and other famous people is “quite a thrill.”

 When I was younger, I wanted to be a radio host. Since then, I have realized an unfortunate truth: I simply don’t have the voice for radio. However, perhaps I will be better off without working in radioit seems to be a hard job. Knowing this, and remembering that industries die without support and profit, we should all remember to turn on our radios as often as possible, and thank the radio for existing at all. By making communication between far away places so simple, it has truly changed humanity.