The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 800: What You Might Not Know About Radio

Yep. There have been EIGHT HUNDRED episodes since this thing started up in February 1993. That’s approximately 9,000 pages of scripts and close to 1.5 million words. And because I have no portable skills and can’t really do anything else, there’s no end in sight to this thing.

Somehow it’s appropriate that episode 800 is about radio. The only reason I’m typing these words now is because on my sixth birthday. my grandmother gave me a transistor radio. That was an odd thing to give to a 6-year-old. I didn’t ask for it. My parents never suggested it. But there it was, wrapped and waiting for me just after nine that Saturday morning.

I can’t explain why, but I became totally enchanted with that thing. I took it everywhere. I fell asleep with it next to me on my pillow. I started making my dad on tours of not only local radio stations but wherever stations et up to do remote broadcasts. If there was a remote at Kern Hill Furniture Co-op and we were nearby in the car, I whined until we dropped in for a look

I soon got it into my head that I wanted to be more than a radio listener and–well, here I am.

There are some people who insist that radio is dying. But that’s just not true. Over 90% of the population tunes in to some kind of radio every week. And while many kids under the age of 17 don’t see the point of non-interactive, non-personalizable music format, research suggests that they start to listen to radio once they enter the workforce. And survey after survey shows that Millennials are still very much radio listeners.

Radio is still important when it comes to music discovery. It works very well as a filter and recommender of music. And unlike streaming, radio has a human element that can provide context, companionship, opinion and up-to-the-second information about what’s happening down the block or around the world.

Oh, and it’s free, too, readily available through billions and billions of devices.

It’s this ubiquity that has people taking radio for granted. It’s always been there, you know. It’s been said that people think about their radios about as much as they think of their toasters. It’s an appliance that you access for certain needs.

What I’d like to do over the next hour is offer up some information about radio that you may not know. You may end up being surprised and delighted–I hope.

Songs heard on this show:

Joy Division, Transmission

The Clash, Capital Radio

Jonathan Richman, Roadrunner

Wall of Voodoo, American Radio

Everclear, AM Radio

Dar Williams, FM Radio

Replacement, Left of the Dial

REM, Radio Song

Elvis Costello, Radio Radio

The Wonder Stuff, Radio Ass Kiss

Here’s what playlistist Eric Wilhite created.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 800: What You Might Not Know About Radio

  • November 10, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Hey on the show tonight i heard a song that you said was part of a two part ep release. Their sound resembled Led Zeppelin. At least the lead singer did. almost too much. I did dig though. Hook it up!

    • November 11, 2017 at 6:35 am

      Greta Van Fleet. The EP is called “From the Fires.”

  • January 11, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    I was wondering where I could find old episodes of your podcast, I’m doing an English article on The Offspring and sort of a personal research project for fun.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.