Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Radio Rags

Radio has comfortably settled into a secondary role to television since the battle ended in the 1960s. Radio won it's first battle with print media in the 1930s, and print persists today. So let that be a lesson, losing dominance does not mean the end of an industry. Today we are served information and entertainment via an absolute glut of media sources: webcasts, podcasts, streaming video, DVDs, CDs, HD radio, satellite radio, ipods and a general over-supply of media sources. For the consumer thsi is great. All platforms pander to us continually trying to win customers. You can download songs for 99 cents (or often for free) Cable TV is cheap when bundled with DSL, and/or phone, and netflix gives you unlimited DVD rentals by mail for like ten bucks...

In the face of this it can be difficult to remember how big radio was in its golden era. Media has a great propensity for self-interest. newspapers write about radio, radio talks about TV, TV talks up a news article... and its always been this way.
At it's peak radio was huge. There were dozens of magazines devoted to radio. Not trade magazines like R&R... many of these were consumer-oriented magazines.

Radio Star, What's on the air, Radio Magazine, Radio News, Radio Broadcast, QST, Radio Call book, Radio Amateur, Tower Radio, Radio Engineering, Radio, Wireless Age, Radio Home, Radio Review, Radio Craft, Radio times, Electric Radio, New Jersey radio, Radio Guide, Radio Index, "Popular Electronics" was also very popular, while it wasnt' exclusively radio related, it covered a lot of radio. Great article here; http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2004/05/07/1/
As media obsesses on other media now we have a glut of magazines focused on computer technology including Wired, PC magazine and many others. History repeats itself. Some more covers are archived here: http://www.hvra.org/magcover.htm