April 9, 2012

Do you ever listen to the radio anymore?

Good question.  I would like to add, ‘watch television’, to this question as well.

Radio.  Just the word conjures up images of long ago.  When you read history books, or watch shows dealing with the past, one realizes that there has been many ways in which we humans have communicated with each other.  Basic face-to-face talking.  Spreading that piece of information from one to another.  Smoke signals.  Drums.  Morse code.  The pony express.  The mail system.  Bulletin board services.  Internet.

Which came first or next is not important.  The fact is, when you look back 10, 100, or 1000 years ago, we are now in the midst of technology.  Back to the original question though, do I still listen to the radio.

When I was a teenager, the radio was part of my life, as it was for many teenagers.  Hearing our favourite music, calling in to enter contests, requesting songs…  all this hinged on what we heard on the radio.  AM or amplitude modulation, was what we as teenagers listened to.  FM or frequency modulation, was what our parents tended to listen to.  As radio signals become clearer and stronger, the shift to FM was preferred.  However, these signals had their limitations.

As one traveled from one area to another, such as a trip from say London to Toronto, the AM and FM stations that we were familiar with were no longer accessible.  Many a time, while driving, you’d have to search through the radio bands to find other station to listen to.  Taking a trip from our home to my mother’s parents home in Quebec, meant that the radio stations, if they were played, were changed several times over the journey.

As I got older and living in Ottawa, the radio was not so much a priority any longer.  Television seemed to take over.  More stations were added to the television sets.  That meant that instead of only 12 stations on T.V., we now had 30 or 40 stations.  Now, as in Taiwan, there are close to 200 stations I can access on my television.  Not all of them are watched all the time by each person, but they are all accessed by SOMEONE.

Now we have the computer.  Again, going back a few years, the computer was literally a tool.  You could create databases of information, do some word processing, and maybe a spreadsheet.  As time went on, BBS’s started.  Now, information could be shared via the modem rather than handling disks.  Now, we have the full-blown Internet.

We can share music with others around the world.  We can download music from anywhere.  We can watch our favourite television programs, no matter what country or language they are presented.  We can download movies onto a memory stick, plug that stick into our flatscreen T.V.’s, and away we go.  We don’t have to wait for a television station to schedule the movie into their broadcasts.

Again, do I listen to the radio?  I’d have to say, NO.  I think my iPhone has radio capability – I’m not sure.  I have music files that I enjoy listening to.  At times, I will play the music that I want to listen to.  I have no need to listen to what the radio will present.

As most of the stations on T.V. here in Taiwan are in Chinese, I don’t spend a lot of time watching television.  I have a program on my computer and an app on my iPhone that allows me to watch programs.  Yes, some of these programs I’ve seen way too many times to count, but the fact that these programs are presented without advertisements, makes it more appealing.

In the span of my life thus far, I have seen the progression from black and white, 12 channel television, to AM vs. FM radio, to the Internet and iPhone.  It will be intriguing to see what the next 50 years gives us.  I just hope that I will be open-minded and clear-headed enough to accept and use these new technologies to come.

Radio.  Sounds so, um, old now.


That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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