I never thought I would lament the end of radio.
In the pre-Internet age, commercial radio, TV news and the front page of newspapers, all provided a shared experience to their community (not, mind you, that this was an unmitigated good). Unlike the other two media, though, radio also reached back in time, since it didn’t just present the music of the day. I grew up with a good independent radio station, and as a result, I had a de facto education in alternative music from the rise of punk onwards, which was augmented by listening to this show every week. That kind of historical context can be lost if you’ve gotten all of your music online.
I thought about radio on the weekend when this question came up: “What is the most influential modern instrument?” (post-electric guitar, not post-sousaphone). My immediate response, “The drum machine,” was met with incomprehension. While you could argue whether this is the right answer (and please do, in the comments), you have to have some knowledge of the antecedents of today’s music in order to answer the question. I’m not sure how widespread that will be from now on.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shoo some kids off my lawn.
Exhibit A: New Order – Blue Monday (12″)