The community brought about by radio

Last night, my friend Paul was listening to WCPE, North Carolina’s classical music station. This was likely from suburban Surrey, thanks to the wonders of the internet.

It was, I’m sure you’ll be aware, “all request Friday”, so he put in a request for Scarlatti’s Sonata in G major, K. 201, via their website I expect. Whether the request was played, I’m not sure. But that’s not the point of this post.

Each weekday evening at 6pm, Radio 1’s Greg James opens up the airwaves for the ten-minute takeover, for which listeners can text in with their requests. Greg allegedly plays three random requests that are stored in Radio 1’s music system. Each evening, I text in my request. To date, these attempts have been futile.

Both of us, if we cared to, have access to Spotify or Napster, allowing us to choose whatever track we might want to listen to whenever we might want to listen to it. And streaming aside, the tracks we want to request are likely already in our respective music collections. We could choose to play them directly from our digital devices of choice.

But we don’t. There’s something collaborative about radio, internet-based or otherwise. In regular listening mode, there’s a lovely thought that other people are enjoying the same thing as we’re enjoying at exactly that moment. And with successful requests, that thought becomes ever more delightful, knowing that other people are enjoying the music that we’ve chosen. (My friend Kate today downloaded Now (That’s What I Call Music) 1982 (Disc 1) off the back of a Facebook comment I left on her husband’s wall detailing its track listing. That made me happy.)

No matter the extent to which on-demand content infiltrates our lives, and in spite of the benefit it brings to our lives, we will continue to reach out to broadcast entertainment media, both to enjoy their unpredictability (please don’t counter this argument with “iTunes Genius”) and to join a community of other listeners.

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One Response to “The community brought about by radio”

  1. Tangential Ramblings on August 20th, 2012 21:59

    […] evening, as I almost always do, I texted Greg James a few moments after […]

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