Saturday, September 10, 2022

Fadin' in, fadin' out...

I've recently had the opportunity to do something I haven't done in a very long time: listen to broadcast radio.

Probably the last time I really listened to the radio much was when the station I had listened to all the time changed formats. That was around 25 years ago. For some reason, they decided they had to play the same thing the other stations in the area played instead of being the one station that played something unique. So they went from being the one country station to being the third or fourth "alternative rock" station. Ugh.


My pickup hasn't had a working radio as long as I've owned it, so that eliminates most of what would have been listening time. But recently I've been taking care of multiple households' feline residents while their human servants are on vacation, and have the use of the car of the farthest household to use for the trips, and I have left the radio alone. I've kind of enjoyed it, but I have noticed that about half of the advertisements are for government.

There are ads for various gov-school related things and events, "public service" announcements telling listeners to make sure their kids get the Covid shot because the CDC says it's safe and necessary (recorded months ago, I'm sure), government job listings, reminders that the Blue Line Gang is looking for "impaired" drivers, and others.

I didn't remember this being the case when I last listened, but I'm open to the probability that I just don't remember. I wonder if government is a primary advertiser in order to prop up the industry, or if they honestly just find radio ads that helpful.

Anyway, I've found it difficult to stifle the scoffs I feel building in response to the obvious nonsense I hear. It's been interesting, though.


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  1. I speculate that the rise in amount of "public service" content is related more to control through licensing requirements than a result of direct government subsidy ... my speculation.

    The feral government established an authority to regulate aspects of broadcast radio in the various "communications acts" of 1928, 1945/6 and 1967. Each refined the requirements of "service" in licensure and established new and more restrictive definitions for various types of "spot commercials".

    My unproven hypothesis is that the messaging you observe is a direct result of FCC requirements "spilling over" from the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967:

    Sec. 396. [47 U.S.C. 396] Corporation for Public Broadcasting

    (a) Congressional declaration of policy—The Congress hereby finds and declares that—

    (1) it is in the public interest to encourage the growth and development of public radio and television broadcasting, including the use of such media for instructional, educational, and cultural purposes;

  2. Sorry, I forgot to sign my comment above ... Hans, in the NC woods

  3. Most alternative rock is a relic of the 1990's. I rarely listen to current music, it's so mechanical and repetitive.

    1. Well, that was in the 90s so it wasn't a relic... yet.

  4. The mix you report hearing is about the same (except for vaccine announcements) as I was hearing ten years ago, including the government stuff. One thing that I have heard on the radio that surprised me is periodic suggestions to keep food and water nearby in case of natural disaster. I actually applaud that, it's scary how many people have no emergency reserves, but as for the rest? Business as usual. I am not a fan of most modern music either. -Roh

    1. I haven't heard anything nearly that useful. I keep hearing a recruitment ad for the Texas Department of Corrections-- and that one really turns my stomach.