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Entertainment Weekly dishes about Radio

Interesting, if not necessarily enlightening, feature story about radio in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Example of contradictions within: “Most radio is aimed at people under 35” says one quoted expert, who couldn’t be more wrong. Versus another: “The radio industry had its collective head in the sand for years when it came to younger listeners; they lost the opportunity to guide the musical choices of an upcoming generation.” What to believe? Well, the pictures are pretty.

Any story headlined with the phrase “Think radio stinks? Well you’re not alone” is not likely to warm the hearts of industry zealots seeking a bigger share of the PR pie.

The story includes a sidebar where the future of radio is discussed and the author handicaps the various trends and fads in the industry. Boiling down his assessments, he asks “will you care in 2010?”

Podcasting: “We hope so.”

Internet Radio: “Definitely”

HD Radio: He’s fuzzy here, but the sense I get is “not as long as it involves commercials” (by the way, the lack of enthusiasm over HD versus Internet Radio is notable, especially considering that music-fan journalists should be prime targets for HD if it is to have any shot at all)

Neo-Radio: “Hopefully.”

The enthusiasm is primarily reserved for Internet Radio.

As for Satellite, they have their own comparative sidebar. The author likes them both.

It’s important to interpret this piece with the biases of the author in mind because they are considerable. Remember that EW is written by youngish Manhattan-dwelling entertainment and pop culture connoisseurs. Their tastes are not representative of the general population – nor is their obsession with variety and new music. Case and point: The author has another sidebar called ‘Great Old-School Radio” where he features what he considers the “best” stations out there. The list includes KCRW, Clear Channel’s KROQ blocker Indie 103.1, KGSR Austin, Northern California’s KPIG, and Seattle’s KEXP (which I hadn’t even heard of).

Not to take away anything from these stations, but this list is particularly oriented towards the white, predominantly male, educated, affluent music fan. And as anyone who knows anything about radio knows, this is most certainly not everybody. And not even most people. It’s no accident a couple of these stations are non-commercial.

While I love to see EW shining some light on the radio industry – warts and all, it would be cool if they’d keep their biases to themselves.

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