Last weekend I went on a trip with my current girlfriend, we went and drove about 6 hours to her younger brother’s high school graduation. Her car doesn’t have a CD player or an input line for an mp3 player, so we were forced to resort to the radio for when we wanted to listen to some music. It was one of the most painful experiences in my life, for several reasons.
- No personalization of the media
- Ads were horribly un-targeted
It was jarring 20 minutes or so as I got used to listening to the radio again after having not listened for at least 2ish years. First off that I had to spend 5 minutes or so finding a radio station that played music that I liked which was a wasted effort in and of itself. I tried finding a radio station that played something that I could enjoy, darn near impossible. I found one station that played something that they called rock music, but heck I would have never called it that. Several other stations with Top 40 hits and pop music, some country and tons of Christian music (inside of Texas you can always find country and Christian music stations). It was pointless nothing came anywhere close to playing something that I could enjoy.
There was a station or two that I could listen too every once in awhile when something came on, but most of the time I ignored the radio. It might as well have not been in the car. I’ve been spoiled rotten, having my personalized music selections full time on either a portable media device or on my computer. Going and listening to the radio with songs selected with no input from me, feels weird.
The other major problem was that the ads were just seemingly fired off in the hopes that they would connect with me, which I can assure you they did not. In a world of hyper targeting, un-targeted ads are a painful experience. I literally had to change to the radio station during ads, they were just awful and mindless. I don’t mind ads, but I came to realize driving down US-82, that I couldn’t deal with ads that didn’t target me precisely.
When Facebook serves me ads for Gay sites, it intrudes on my experience with Facebook. The ad doesn’t connect with me as a person or consumer and it is an intrusion into my life. When Facebook on the other hand gives me ads for TTU Distance Education or PHP programming solutions, I find them welcome. The ads are saying hey we have a service that you are within a very good probability interested in. Radio ads are meaningless, just some nonsense I have to waste my time listening to.
This leads me to believe that radio is not going to survive for very much longer. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t have a useful place, radio provides an easy way for artists to promote their music. As I said earlier:
Would you buy a product without testing it first, or verifying that you are receiving something that you want?
Radio is very usefull in this promotion and sampling of music. However I see radio disappearing with the sampling being taken over by Last.fm or Pandora. Promotion will be done through the iTunes, Amazon or other respective music store.
I for one won’t miss radio and the next trip I take I’ll buy a cassette adapter before leaving.