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Radio, the “Intimate” Medium

Recently, Howard Stern interviewed MSNBC host and one-time Air America anchor Rachel Maddow, and the conversation eventually drifted to radio and what makes it different from TV.

Compared to TV, “radio is an intimate medium,” Rachel said. And of course, she’s right. While we lump radio with television when we think of “broadcasting,” TV is certainly more one-to-many while radio is really much more one-to-one….

Among many.

That’s not just a voice in your ear, after all. It’s a voice you have a relationship with.

With TV you’re always aware of the glass rectangle separating you from that character in his or her sterile studio. But when you listen to the radio, it’s just you and that voice in your ears.

You and your friend.

This intimacy has tremendous value. And it happens not because of the right mix of songs, for hits are commodities. It happens not because of production value or messaging. It happens not because of contests and bits. It happens not because of more music or fewer commercials. It happens not because of personalization or interactivity.

It happens because that voice belongs to someone who matters to you.

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