• MS

    Hi Mark,

    Someone can maybe argue that radio was a many-to-many technology prior to the regulation of frequencies that created commercial broadcasters.  From Tim Wu's The Master Switch, you had lots of receivers *and* transmitters being sold with 1000's of channels in the NYC area alone.  Radios were used to chat with others and not used as in the 1-to-many technology we know…or knew…

    The Master Switch then continues on about how the regulation of telephone, radio, tv, and now perhaps the Internet has been centralized and its affect on society…etc….etc….

    The book is a good read for anyone in our industry. 

    I think that Internet radio is and will be in the many-to-many category permanently.

    So after all, maybe radio was indeed the original social network….



  • Skip Pizzi

    Good distinction, Mark. Hopefully it will thwart this misperception, and help radio folks learn how to move forward in both mediums. There is great potential synergy to be had between radio and social media, but it will never happen if radio thinks it's already there.

  • What you're describing is the original HAM nature of radio, when it was the province of hobbyists. I do not think that's what most broadcasters mean when they use the term.

    But that still only takes radio back less than 100 years. And it doesn't make us the original anything.

  • Or if radio sees itself as “superior” rather than complimentary. Thanks Skip.

  • By the way, I should add that book to my ever-longer list.  I have heard of it.  Thanks Matt.

  • andrewsteeley

    Mark, perfect description of how distinct radio and social media are!  I've heard the argument that radio was the original social medium because of contests and requests, etc.  I fail to see how those are “social” components since they exist on the broadcaster's terms — instead of fostering a continuous flow of conversation.  Not to mention that voicetracking has killed any “social” aspect that radio has tried to hang onto.

    When PDs start to view themselves as (and start acting like) brand managers and community leaders, maybe we'll see a more “social” attitude toward the medium.  Unfortunately, I see more of an “ignorance is bliss” attitude these days.

  • Mark,

    I am not sure if I am patient 0 on this front but it is something that I say quite often.  While you are correct that churches are the original social networks, I also think that radio is the first electronic social network.  I say it as both a way to get radio people in touch with the past but also to show how they have lost their way.

    When I think of radio as a social network I think of the movie American Graffiti and how that whole group of characters used Wolfman Jack to channel their emotions, fears and fantasies.  At the time they used the tools available to them, the telephone and the broadcasts.

    Unfortunately most radio stations have lost the sense of community that they had fostered in those time because they are stuck with corporate play lists programmed from a long ways away.  They are not engaged in their community as they had been in the past.

    As you said recently, radio is what happens between the music.  And so it is.  I am just hopeful that someone in radio will realize this and re-engage with their community using all the tools they have available.

  • Pingback: Is This Blog “Social Media”? | AP42 Blog()

Dive Into The Blog