In the digital age that we live in, there is always something that we, as human beings, can turn to to make our lives easier. Cleaning has been simplified by the Vacuum Cleaner, Social Networking has been simpler to access on pretty much anything with an internet connection. But Entertainment is something which hasn’t been changed in any way in its basic form, but the ways in which we are entertained have changed dramatically.
In this day in age, it seems almost impossible to think of a time before digital entertainment didn’t exist, especially in those Under the age of 25. But most seem to rediscover their love of board/card games when there’s a powercut once in a blue moon… But since the early 20th Century, the developed world seemed addicted to one thing: The Wireless. It had everything anyone would ever need, news updates, drama series (entirely in narrative, still happening on BBC Radio 4 with “The Archers”) and even the playing of the music of the day.
It’s well documented that DJs of times gone by weren’t exactly the most socially desirable of the working masses. But somehow, the new era of the “Super-DJ” has managed to turn some of these vinyl-spinners into worldwide superstars. You only need to see the crowds that the likes of David Guetta and Calvin Harris have started to grab to see the utter transformation in recent times. Not only were former DJs described as having a “face for radio”, those poor people now have to suffer through current BBC Radio 1 DJs like Greg James and Nick Grimshaw becoming unlikely sex symbols among their female fans! (Had to be said… The sort of tweets you sometimes see are almost frightening!)
Perhaps what is most striking about this transformation of radio is how it has not only managed to survive this new age of Digital Downloads, it has flourished. Listeners can now customise their own musical playlists by listening only to the music that they want to listen to; but the radio hasn’t suffered from it, it seems. The Compact Disc effectively killed off the tape, the Digital Download has now all but made the CD obsolete, even the almighty TV hasn’t managed to shuffle radio into the status of ‘archaic contraption’. I mean, it’s almost everything that the radio can do, except you can see everything.
Almost everything about the modern era should take a little more wind out of the radio’s sail. But there’s one invention that you could arguably say that the radio has a friend in: Cars. It seems so simple, car journeys are boring. Everyone knows that; especially if you’re on your own in the morning on the way to work. So on the other side of the push of a button, is a more pleasant experience. Different radio stations play almost any sort of music imaginable, so there really is something for everyone out there (corny pun not intended, but the point is still valid!) like the TV schedules, every radio show will have its own staple features that will make people keep listening. To use BBC Radio 1 as the only example (simply because that’s all I ever have on!) Scott Mills has the now infamous “Innuendo Bingo” and the wonderful diary of Chris Stark “24 Years at the Tap End”, Greg James has “Ask the Nation”, Nick Grimshaw has “Showquizness”, and Zane Lowe picks a new “Hottest Record in the World” every day.
It’s also the interactivity and the rapport between DJ and listener that keeps people listening long into the show, because very simply, radio shows are very entertaining. Viewing figures for the most popular shows remain in the multi-millions, and artists still get their best exposure for their new single through radio airplay.
The radio should have suffered the same fate as the Walkman, or Heelies, or at least Tamagotchi by now. But it hasn’t. I suppose some things in the world are able to defy logic somehow…