Wednesday, February 28, 2007

sound of the times

the public radio world is in a state (or many) of flux right now. ideas about how and what radio should provide for listeners is changing, and theories about how radio will stay relevant in this digital age abound. it's obvious that the internet and other myriad technologies have permanently altered the way we consume information and communicate with others. and there's this hovering concern that Real Live Radio Stations may soon just go away (i get asked, often, if i'm afraid for my job).

but there's also a competing notion gaining ground in public radio, and that, contrary to the trends in global reach and unlimited access to...everywhere, concentrates on developing community, addressing the needs and issues of a particular place, and showcasing local participation.

remember when the phrase 'community radio' conjured sneers and visions of dangling peace signs, bongs in the production studio and ranting hippies on the air? let's just say that things have changed. and you'll begin to see/hear the evidence sooner than later. especially if you live in milwaukee, where 88nine radio milwaukee launched this week with a former top executive of one of the biggest public radio stations in the country at its helm.

in other words, it's an exciting time to be Listening. good things await us. or at least the potential for good things awaits us.

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